RE: Working "with"; working "on"

Subject: RE: Working "with"; working "on"
From: "Sean Brierley" <sbrierley -at- Accu-Time -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 13:37:58 -0400

Based on the original post, I say it all depends on context and I'd not
assume anything. If things are unclear, I'd ask for a clarification. The
only context that would be easy to distinguish would be involving
people: "I'm working with Burt on the new guide," "I'm working on Burt
to get him to help with the new guide."



Sean Brierley
Technical Writer

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+sbrierley=accu-time -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+sbrierley=accu-time -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of McLauchlan, Kevin
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2008 1:30 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Working "with"; working "on"

When you hear or read " .. working on <object>...", do you infer a
statement or question about something for which the worker has some
ownership and responsibility?

EXAMPLE: I'm working "on" some images; I am either creating them or
editing them. If somebody needs them, they get them from me when I've
done my thing.

When you hear or read " ... working with <object>...", do you infer a
statement or question about something that is merely available to the
worker, but their ownership or responsibility is for something else?

EXAMPLE: I'm working "with" some images; I am using pre-existing images
available to me to create something else, but I didn't necessarily
create the images, and anybody who needs them isn't expecting me to have
made or edited them (somebody else had that responsibility - I'm just a
beneficiary, in passing).

A Test Engineer asked me a question using the "working on" construction,
and I had a brief "forgot to study for the big test" moment, until I
asked some clarifying questions and reminded myself about something I'd
done two weeks ago. If he'd used the "working with" construction, I
would not have had the same feeling of "have I dropped a ball?", and I
would probably have gotten to what he wanted to know more directly.
Since it was obvious I'd gone off on a tangent as I scrambled to orient
myself to his original question, he asked me if he should have worded it
differently. I began to explain, but then wondered if I'd be giving him
a personal distinction but not a generally held one.

What say ye, O expert ones?

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Working "with"; working "on": From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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