"The user conference had a videographer who filmed the participants as they spoke about their experience using the software."

I wonder if the sentence is correct. Aren't "of" or "On" needed to put in between "their experience" and "using the software"?

I think that if "using the software" is Participial Phrases, then that sentence comes to mean "they spoke about their experience by using the software", which is not an appropriate meaning.

  • 3
    The sentence isn't incorrect. ".. their experience using the software" is perfectly correct.
    – Varun Nair
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 7:21
  • @VarunKN Also there is no problem in meaning that "experience" is the experience of using the software? Why were "of" or "on" not used there? Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 7:33
  • Here, you need not add "on" because even by omitting it, the meaning of the sentence doesn't change.
    – Varun Nair
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 7:40
  • @VarunKN But without "on" or "of", the "using the software" part seems to be Participle Phrases that modifies "spoke". But for the proper meaning, it should modify the noun "experience". Because it should be "They spoke about the experience that they used the software.", not "They spoke about the experience by using the software.". Each meaning is totally different than the other. Can I ask you give some explanation why? :) Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 9:03

2 Answers 2


their experience using could be considered "informal".

When writing, I'd probably say "their experience in using..." or "their experience when using..."

There's some clause-reduction going on in "their experience using". In the example, I understand "using the software" to restrict/modify experience.

P.S. In your original example "using the software" modifies experience. What experience? The experience of using the software.

If someone says "I'm having trouble hearing you.", the phrase "hearing you" complements the verb phrase "having trouble". It completes the meaning of the verb-phrase. Trouble doing what? Trouble hearing. The same would be true if someone says "I get pleasure listening to Beethoven." The phrase "listening to B" completes the verb phrase "get pleasure". How do you get pleasure? By listening to Beethoven.

  • If there are other prepositions that can substitue for "in" after "experience", what would they be? May I ask you what it would be like with "on" or "of" placed there instead of "in"? Thank you. :) Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 16:19
  • When you said "In the example, I understand using the software to restrict/modify experience", is the example the sentence I wrote in the question or the ones with "in" or "when" added which are you mentioned in the answer? Sorry to bother you. Thank you. :) Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 16:23
  • See the P.S. for further explanation of how I'm analyzing the sentence.
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 17:01

The only change I would make to the sentence would be to make "experience" plural-- "... spoke about their experiences using ...." because "... the participants ...." indicates more than one person having more than one experience.

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