mainly dish washing / dish washing, mainly [adverb position]

kenny4528

Senior Member
Mandarin, Taiwan
Hi there, I am writing this sentence, the following is my first draft:
What I usually do is not any different from when I was in XXX-peeling potatoes, helping with food preparation and mainly dish washing.
On second thought, I'm tempted to change the end a bit to:
What I usually do is not any different from when I was in XXX-peeling potatoes, helping with food preparation and dish washing, mainly.
Is it okay to you? I just feel that way it reads less rigid, but I'd like to have you opinion.
 
  • JimboFr

    Senior Member
    British English
    Your second answer is the best.

    Personally, I would be inclined to write "helping mainly with food preparation and dish washing."
     

    spodulike

    Senior Member
    English - England
    1. helping with food preparation but mainly dish washing.

    2. helping with food preparation and dish washing, mainly.
    They mean slightly different things. The first one says that your main activity was washing dishes. The second says that you were mainly helping with both food preparation and dish washing

    The second could be re-written as " mainly helping with food preparation and dish washing.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Putting your examples in boxes looks good, but makes it difficult to quote your post.

    Your sentences do not mean the same.

    The first says that your job was mainly dish-washing.
    The second says that your job was mainly peeling potatoes, helping with food preparation and dish-washing.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    If you want to convey your intended meaning unambiguously:

    peeling potatoes, helping with food preparation and, mainly, dish washing

    With 'mainly' right at the end it applies all the way back to the three activities, as panjandrum has said - I'm not sure why it can't be interpreted as just "dish washing, mainly", but it can't.

    To get slightly off topic: on its own, 'helping with food preparation and dish washing' is ambiguous. The 'and' can apply at a higher level ('[helping with food preparation] and [dish washing]') or a lower level ('helping with [food preparation and dish washing]'). In either case, a final 'mainly' applies to all of it.

    However, there's that 'potato peeling' in front of it. If the whole thing was a list of two items you'd need 'and', not a comma, between them.

    :tick:potato peeling and helping with X
    :cross:potato peeling, helping with X [possible in literature but not everyday language]

    As there is a comma, we know it's a list of three things, and not of two where X contains an internal 'and'. So, unambiguously, we know you don't mean "helping with dish washing". This is off topic because the placement of 'mainly' is unaffected by these structural questions.
     
    Last edited:

    Spharadi

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Could you use "above all" instead of "mainly"?

    What I usually do is not any different from when I was in XXX-peeling potatoes, helping with food preparation and, above all, dish washing.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top