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Have to write sentence in which I encourage someone to keep improving. Is this the right way to say it

Keep doing whatever you're doing until you have achieved better results still.

or should I say

Keep doing whatever you're doing until you achieve better results still.

Thanks.

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This is a trick question :-)

Let's set it up as a do-until loop:

do
   seek to improve
until improvement noticed

But that's not what you want to say, right? You want to say "always seek to improve" or "never stop trying to improve". Or do I misunderstand you?

So, your "still" is important, and your choice of tense is important, and the word "until" cannot be used.

The perfect won't do here, because, as its name suggests, once perfected, the person would have to stop seeking to improve.

The word "until" wont' do here, because it places a limit on the action. We must use "always" instead.

An idiomatic way to encourage people not to give up, and to seek always to improve is to use the phrasal verb "keep at".

Keep at whatever you do and always seek to achieve still better results.
Keep at whatever you do and always seek to achieve even better results.

  • This is a great explanation. But I feel I may not have explained my question better. Let me give some more context. Government of a province has achieved good results (70%) in an immunisation drive. I want to encourage them and say that they should keep at it and improve further. So, coming back to my first example sentence. I used "until you have" because it sounded instinctually correct; but since I don't know the exact rules that apply to tenses, I couldn't tell whether the usage was grammatically correct. – axomna Jun 26 '15 at 15:20
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    I'll be honest, as a native English speaker, neither of your two examples flow very well. – Josh Thomas Jun 26 '15 at 15:21
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    @axomna: If you have a particular finite target in mind (e.g. 90%) then you could say either: "until you have achieved 90% immunization" or "until you achieve 90% immunization". Since this is not open-ended continual improvement but improvement with a specfied goal, "until" works, and the perfect ("have achieved") is well-suited to the idea. But since achieve already expresses the idea of attainment, the perfect is not required to make the meaning clear. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 26 '15 at 15:47
  • @Josh Thomas: Not sure what you mean by "flow". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 26 '15 at 15:49
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They are both correct, it is a matter of stylistic choice. There are some other things you could do to improve your sentences however. I would remove "still" at the end, it's not necessary and sounds like something you would read in an old book. Also, try changing "whatever" to "what" for a shorter, more concise sentence.

Keep doing what you're doing until you achieve better results.

Edit: Actually on second thought, you could leave "whatever" if you prefer. You could use "whatever" to convey a hint of sarcasm or disdain (not necessarily, this would depend on the context).

Keep doing whatever you're doing until you achieve better results.

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Keep doing whatever you're doing until you have achieved better results still.

Keep doing whatever you're doing until you achieve better results still.

Both these examples imply that you want them to keep working on improving up to a specific point.

If you want to encourage them to keep trying, but let them know that they are doing a good job at the same time, you could say something like

Keep up the good work.

Which is an idiom for saying

Please keep doing the good things that you are doing now.

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