lateness

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malgosia

Senior Member
Polish
In an informal letter someone wrote:
I was in a rush because of my lateness.

It sounds a bit awkward to me (at least in an informal letter). I'd say

I was in a rush because I was late.

I wonder whether I could use the top sentence in a formal context.
Could I?
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You could but it's not really elegant, or very usual. It's certainly not a case of a form of words being acceptable in formal English, which would sound starchy elsewhere. It would sound a little odd anywhere.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I puzzled over these sentences for a while before I realised why I think they are odd. It's the structure. They are both:
    I was <adjective thing> because... .
    It's most disturbing in the second sentence:
    I was <adjective thing> because I was <adjective thing>.

    It would be more natural, to me anyway, as:
    I was rushing because of my lateness.
    I was rushing because I was late.
    And I prefer the second.
     
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