Formal phrase for "what is it all about?"

Tochy14

Senior Member
The context is about wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and subsidies.
First of all, there are all kinds of sizes. For example:
- Houses, 5 Population equivalent (=PE)
- Hotels, 200 PE
- Cities, 100000 PE
In my text, I am explaining we have to meet directives (about water management in my case) as a member of Europe. But meeting them requires huge amounts of money.
I know that municipalities, for example, can benefit from funds (called structural funds) to build those projects.

But now, I want to know if it is the same for small WWTP, if we can benefit from subsidies on installing.

My sentence would be then:

"And now concerning small WWTP, what is it all about?"

NB: I want to avoid informal English given that it is part of my final study report.

Thank you
 
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    "And now concerning small WWTP, what is it all about?"

    It's not clear what you mean.
    I think you need to describe (rather than quote) what you have said in the report just before this sentence and what you are about to say after this sentence.

    It seems that you want some kind of linking sentence that allows you to mofe from one topic area to another. Some other way of saying "And now concerning small WWTP" - perhaps? Putting "what is it all about" at the end is informal/casual and in my view meaningless in this sentence.
     

    Tochy14

    Senior Member
    It is sometimes difficult to express oneself in other languages...

    But I have received a proposition on french-english forum which is :

    "How about small wastewater treatment plant?"

    Does this one fit the context?

    Thanks for providing advice
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    "How about a ..." is a very casual expression. I wouldn't use it in a formal report.
    This is a much simpler message than the original sentence.

    If I were writing the report I would probably not use this kind of artificial linking sentence. I assume that there is something you are going to say about small WWTP? Or will you ask a rhetorical question?
    But now, I want to know if it is the same for small WWTP, if we can benefit from subsidies on installing.

    For example:
    The situation with regard to subsidies for small WWTP is less clear ...

    Can small WWTP benefit from similar subsdies?
     

    Tochy14

    Senior Member
    The example you have provided is not bad :)

    The fact is that I know the situation for big WWTP because I have found pieces of information in directives, laws, and so on

    But now, I still have to find out about smaller plants...

    Another example provided by an English native speaker:

    "What is the position regarding smaller plants
    ?"

    I have grasped :)

    Have a nice day
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Are you going to leave this question dangling in your report?
    If you are not going to answer the question, you would be better not asking it.
    If you are going to answer it, then you need a sentence that introduces what you are going to say about the smaller plants, not a question.

    A question would be a reasonable link in a more casual setting, or perhaps in an oral presentation where a rhetorical question rightly belongs :)
     

    Tochy14

    Senior Member
    So here in my case, I simply write an affirmative phrase as it is not an oral presentation where a question would have fitted, suited.

    I will choose this one : The situation with regard to subsidies for small WWTP is less clear: further investigation is required.
     
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