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This is my first book of poetry working with you, so I hope this will eventually be the first step to a long partnership.

I got this from my American buddy, but this is weird to me. Is he making a stupid mistake? Or am I stupid?

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    What exactly do you find "weird" about the text? There's certainly nothing particularly unusual about the sequence my first job working on (whatever I worked on in my first job), and I don't see why ... with you should be any different. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 12 '15 at 15:32
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    Well, yes - except that using present continuous there is not idiomatic in standard English (only Indian English, and I personally would strongly recommend IE speakers to avoid it where possible). A native speaker might say This is the first time I have worked on a book of poetry with you, for example. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 12 '15 at 15:46
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    Given the text as it stands, there are two "natural" interpretations. #1: I've worked on other projects with you, but this is the first time we've worked together on a book of poetry. #2: I've worked on books of poetry with other collaborators, but this is the first time I've worked on one with you. But both you and he will obviously know which meaning applies. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 12 '15 at 15:52
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This is not incorrect, and no one would have any difficulty understanding you.

On the other hand, I think it's a little clumsy, and not just because of the bland verb choice "working". I would say

This is the first time I have had the opportunity to write a book of poetry with you, but I hope this will eventually be the first step in a long partnership.

This emphasizes

  • The act of writing.
  • That you saw working with him/her to be an opportunity, and it was something you enjoyed.
  • That you don't think that writing a single book together in some way obliges him/her to stay in a long-term partnership with you.
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I'm not seeing a mistake there. It may be clearer with a different verb there:

This is my first book collaborating with you, so I hope this will eventually be the first step to a long partnership.

"Collaborating" and "working" are interchangable here.

He's just saying that this book was his first time working with you, and that he hopes it is the first step to a long partnership of more collaboration.

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  • It is a reduced clause ? isn't it ? ".. first book that I am working with you " – Cardinal Aug 12 '15 at 16:29

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