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Mr. Gregory White
Mr. Gregory White, Teacher
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Style question: This phrase is confusing, "On the phone within

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Style question: This phrase is confusing, "On the phone within the half hour with me, I mentioned this" implies that the call lasted half an hour. Can you please tell me the reason, syntax, grammer, etc. why this is poorly phrased. I want to say "In the past half hour we were on the phone, I mentioned this." The way these two sentences are written, one says one thing, the other sentence means something else. Why is it poorly phrased?
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The better way to phrase this would be "During our conversation that took place during of portion of the past half hour, I mentioned...." In this way you are stating that the conversation only lasted during part of the past half hour but that you mentioned it during that time of the conversation.

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Mr. Gregory White, Teacher
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 5240
Experience: M.A., M.S. Education / Educational Administration
Mr. Gregory White and 40 other General Specialists are ready to help you

Hello, and thanks for the question.

 

As you stated, the first sentence implies that the call lasted half an hour. The sentence itself is poorly constructed because it contains three consecutive prepositional phrases--"on the phone", "within the half hour", and "with me"-- but it could be taken to mean, "During our half hour phone conversation, I mentioned this." The second sentence implies that a topic was mentioned within the past thirty minutes during a phone conversation (regardless of the total time of the call). A way to reconstruct the sentence to make this meaning even clearer would be to state, "I mentioned this within the past thirty minutes, during our phone conversation."

 

Hope this helps!

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