upon doing smth.

English translation: at the moment or thereafter

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:upon doing sth.
Selected answer:at the moment or thereafter
Entered by: Tony M

15:44 Feb 7, 2014
English language (monolingual) [PRO]
Law/Patents - Law (general)
English term or phrase: upon doing smth.
A question to native speakers:

Can this construction [upon doing smth.] be used as a synonym for "at the time of doing smth / when doing smth"

For example:

"The information deleted from the register has legal effect upon making a decision on employment of a person" [meaning: The information deleted from the register has legal effect when a decision about employment of a person is made].

In other words, is "upon doing smth" = "when doing smth"?

I have always assumed that "upon" only means "after". (e.g. Please call me upon receipt [AFTER you have received something])

Am I wrong?

Thanks to everyone in advance.
mailbag
Local time: 21:01
at the moment or thereafter
Explanation:
But I don't think that's really your question!
You see, in the sentence you have given, it is a quite different construction that has been used: 'to have an effect (up)on something'

If that is NOT your intended meaning, then the whole sentence is wrong to start with. You have explained what you want it to mean, but there is no way your original sentence can mean that, as it is grammatically wrong for that meaning, and the meaning 'have an effect (up)on' is so strong it will override whatever else you might like it to mean!

To start with, I suspect 'have an effect' is not really the right verb to use; you probably need something like 'is taken into account' or 'influences'; and then 'upon' in the temporal sense you mention would be quite wrong here; it is only normally used in the sense of 'upon doing something, something else occurs' — which often conveys at least in part the idea of 'if you do something, something else will happen', which you can see is clearly not the meaning you are looking for here.

You probably need something like 'influences the decision to employ someone' or 'is taken into account when deciding whether or not to employ someone'.

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Note added at 2 heures (2014-02-07 18:19:17 GMT)
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Upon reading the rest of the comments on this page, I am now more than ever convinced that in your particualr context, this IS an error and DOES need to be corrected — largely, for the reasons highlighted by Václav, and upon which I have sought to expand above.

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Note added at 3 heures (2014-02-07 18:52:24 GMT)
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I did realize it is not your own sentence, and I though I had made it clear: once again, I do NOT think this sentence is acceptable as it stands, and it DOES need correcting.

Regarding your second sentenc below, I would say the same: this sounds awkward and not at all how a native EN speaker would naturally express the same idea; it does not suffer from the glaring ambiguity of the first sentence, but this really is not the way 'upon' would be used by most EN native speakers in this sort of context and register. Talking of register, 'upon' has quite a dated ring about it and would rarely crop up in everyday conversation (other than perhaps in certain relatively set expressions). Its use tends nowadays to be confiend to commercial or legal texts of a fairly formal register — i.e. I would say probably a slightly more formal register than the texts you have here.

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Note added at 7 heures (2014-02-07 23:18:10 GMT)
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"Upon arriving home, I realized I'd forgotten my keys" = when I arrived home, something else happened — OK in everyday use, but can still sound a bit pompous.
The tense implied by the gerund in the first part of the phrase is determined by the tense in the second part.

"Upon going to the shops, I shall buy some sweets" — could be used to express 'when' here, but sounds REALLY old-fashioned these days.

"Upon deciding to employ Jill, they checked her references" = once they had done A, they did B.
"When deciding to employ Jack, they were unduly influenced by his past problems" = at the time of... (during)

"Upon opening my post, I usually find more bills than cheques"


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Note added at 8 jours (2014-02-16 09:21:10 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

'upon' can sometimes replace 'when' in phrases involving a past tense, but rarely sounds natural if used for 'when' in the future. And it almost never works where 'when' conveys any connotation of 'if'.
Selected response from:

Tony M
France
Local time: 20:01
Grading comment
thanks
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



SUMMARY OF ALL EXPLANATIONS PROVIDED
4 +2at the moment or thereafter
Tony M
4 +1as soon as you do/on doing/when you do/
Yvonne Gallagher
4concerning/with repect to
AllegroTrans


Discussion entries: 15





  

Answers


1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
concerning/with repect to


Explanation:
The information deleted from the register has legal effect upon making a decision on employment of a person = The information deleted from the register has legal effect concernig/with repect to the making a decision on employment of a

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-02-07 17:16:06 GMT)
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I don't see "upon" as wrong in your sentence
It is not a word used (here) to denote a time; think inn terms of "on"

AllegroTrans
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:01
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 19
Notes to answerer
Asker: "Persons shall be exempt from payment of the electronic inquiry fee upon inquiry concerning the persons themselves." (i.e. when they make an inquiry about themselves). - does this sentence seem ok to you as a native speaker?


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Tony M: Yes, but as Asker has made clear, even though this is the way a native-speaker would interpret this, it is not actually the meaning Asker is seeking to convey.
1 hr
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
as soon as you do/on doing/when you do/


Explanation:
don't really see a problem with this, It may be a little more unusual but it is not wrong in my opinion

Yes, "upon" in this case =when/as soon as/simultaneously to

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-02-07 17:02:32 GMT)
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Here it does have the meaning of immediately following

The information deleted from the register has legal effect upon (=when/once/immediately following) a decision on employment of a person"

[meaning: The information deleted from the register has legal effect ONCE a decision about employment of a person HAS been made/is made].

The information deleted from the register has legal effect when upon making a decision on employment of a person" [meaning: The information deleted from the register has legal effect when a decision about employment of a person is made].

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-02-07 17:05:10 GMT)
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sorry, meant to delete last bit of above note rather than repeat.

As for

Upon hiring the person can mean= when hiring=simultaneous to hiring

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-02-07 17:06:26 GMT)
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#4 here

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/upon

4. on the occasion of, at the time of, or immediately after: She was joyful upon seeing her child take his first steps.

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-02-07 17:08:14 GMT)
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so that last sentence could easily be rephrased as

She was joyful upon seeing her child take his first steps
She was joyful WHEN she saw her child take his first steps
She was joyful as soon as she saw her child take his first steps
She was joyful the minute she saw her child take his first steps

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-02-07 17:12:24 GMT)
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the meaning are not "conflicting" that you found, just different meanings for the one word that (most) native speakers would instinctively know.

. Oxford Learner's Dictionary [http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/on]
on/upon - immediately after something
On arriving home I discovered they had gone.
Please report to reception on arrival.
There was a letter waiting for him on his return.
2. Merriam-Webster [http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/on]
on/upon - —used as a function word to indicate a time frame during which something takes place a /parade on Sunday/ or an instant, action, or occurrence when something begins or is done /on cue/ /on arriving home, I found your letter/ /news on the hour/ /cash on delivery
----
Both dictionaries give the same example: “upon arriving home” :)
In the first case it is understood as “immediately after” in the other “during” :)))

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-02-07 17:17:21 GMT)
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another version of upon
On/immediately upon arriving home I discovered they had gone
as soon as/when I arrived home...
once I got home I...

you could NOT use "during" as a synonym here



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Note added at 1 hr (2014-02-07 17:20:04 GMT)
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Do NOT mark it as a mistake in your text!

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-02-07 17:21:17 GMT)
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on/upon arrival=when/as soon as you arrive

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-02-07 17:27:49 GMT)
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well in this last case you cite

it is still OK to say "UPON=WHEN"

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-02-07 17:30:41 GMT)
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you could see it as

during the time you are deciding whether to hire this person or not=When deciding whether to hire...
= upon making a decision/upon deciding

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-02-07 17:34:24 GMT)
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or maybe, in this specific case

when it comes to making a decision about hiring

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-02-07 17:38:51 GMT)
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in other words, "UPON" can be read in various ways depending on context but I really see nothing wrong with it here

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Note added at 1 hr (2014-02-07 17:41:43 GMT)
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yes, it's fairly standard. Don't get sidetracked by people trying to make it seem complicated...

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Note added at 7 hrs (2014-02-07 23:32:00 GMT)
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re-rad the line above.

You asked a simple question to begin:
"...In other words, is "upon doing smth" = "when doing smth"?
...I have always assumed that "upon" only means "after"

I never suggested using the synonym "during" or Václav's misreading "in the course of".

You also got the Webster definition wrong as you are actually looking at the definitions for the word "on" for the longer time frame



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Note added at 19 hrs (2014-02-08 11:27:17 GMT)
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you never asked me about the other sentence

"Persons shall be exempt from payment of the electronic inquiry fee upon inquiry concerning the persons themselves." (i.e. when they make an inquiry about themselves). - does this sentence seem ok to you as a native speaker?

this whole sentence is badly phrased so it's really not about the "upon" bit.



Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 19:01
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 115
Notes to answerer
Asker: No no no :). You got it wrong :). I find it really hard to explain the meaning of the sentence without being able to show you the Estonian original. There is the thing. There is a “punishment register” in Estonia. All your offences and misdemeanours are entered there by state officials. After a certain period of time this data is deleted from the register (and you are "clean" again). This deleted information is not actually deleted, but archived. I.e. you can still find it in the state archives. This deleted/expired criminal information does not have any legal consequences for you. BUT when somebody wants to hire you, they legally use this information as a pretext not to hire you. So, the sentence “The information deleted from the register has legal effect upon (=when/once/immediately following) a decision on employment of a person" in the original text means the following: The information deleted from the register has legal consequences for a person (can be held against him/her) when a decision about hiring him/her is made by a prospective employer. - well, something like that :)

Asker: Ok, thanks a lot. I have become a bit wiser myself :). So, that's not a mistake then and it can be considered "standard English use" ? Because this is the requirement for this translation.

Asker: Well, that's a great hype for the word UPON. I will start using it myself now. Thanks again :)


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Daniel Weston: Exactly
4 mins
  -> many thanks Daniel:-)

neutral  Václav Pinkava: In this context the word upon would be misleading, because it could be taken to mean "no sooner than having hired someone" when in fact the decision is being made about hiring. So "upon" is being used, misleadingly, as if it only meant "in the course of".
41 mins
  -> Well, I think you are reading this all wrong. It does not AT ALL mean "in the course of" here. There is nothing wrong with the word as meaning "when" which was Asker's original question...

neutral  Tony M: I agree with Václav: in this particular context, the usage would be so misleading as to constitute IMHO an error. / The real problem is 'has an effect upon...'
1 hr
  -> well I'm surprised to say the least...IMHO there is no error whatsoever, nor any misunderstanding...
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
upon doing sth.
at the moment or thereafter


Explanation:
But I don't think that's really your question!
You see, in the sentence you have given, it is a quite different construction that has been used: 'to have an effect (up)on something'

If that is NOT your intended meaning, then the whole sentence is wrong to start with. You have explained what you want it to mean, but there is no way your original sentence can mean that, as it is grammatically wrong for that meaning, and the meaning 'have an effect (up)on' is so strong it will override whatever else you might like it to mean!

To start with, I suspect 'have an effect' is not really the right verb to use; you probably need something like 'is taken into account' or 'influences'; and then 'upon' in the temporal sense you mention would be quite wrong here; it is only normally used in the sense of 'upon doing something, something else occurs' — which often conveys at least in part the idea of 'if you do something, something else will happen', which you can see is clearly not the meaning you are looking for here.

You probably need something like 'influences the decision to employ someone' or 'is taken into account when deciding whether or not to employ someone'.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 heures (2014-02-07 18:19:17 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Upon reading the rest of the comments on this page, I am now more than ever convinced that in your particualr context, this IS an error and DOES need to be corrected — largely, for the reasons highlighted by Václav, and upon which I have sought to expand above.

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Note added at 3 heures (2014-02-07 18:52:24 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I did realize it is not your own sentence, and I though I had made it clear: once again, I do NOT think this sentence is acceptable as it stands, and it DOES need correcting.

Regarding your second sentenc below, I would say the same: this sounds awkward and not at all how a native EN speaker would naturally express the same idea; it does not suffer from the glaring ambiguity of the first sentence, but this really is not the way 'upon' would be used by most EN native speakers in this sort of context and register. Talking of register, 'upon' has quite a dated ring about it and would rarely crop up in everyday conversation (other than perhaps in certain relatively set expressions). Its use tends nowadays to be confiend to commercial or legal texts of a fairly formal register — i.e. I would say probably a slightly more formal register than the texts you have here.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 7 heures (2014-02-07 23:18:10 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

"Upon arriving home, I realized I'd forgotten my keys" = when I arrived home, something else happened — OK in everyday use, but can still sound a bit pompous.
The tense implied by the gerund in the first part of the phrase is determined by the tense in the second part.

"Upon going to the shops, I shall buy some sweets" — could be used to express 'when' here, but sounds REALLY old-fashioned these days.

"Upon deciding to employ Jill, they checked her references" = once they had done A, they did B.
"When deciding to employ Jack, they were unduly influenced by his past problems" = at the time of... (during)

"Upon opening my post, I usually find more bills than cheques"


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 jours (2014-02-16 09:21:10 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

'upon' can sometimes replace 'when' in phrases involving a past tense, but rarely sounds natural if used for 'when' in the future. And it almost never works where 'when' conveys any connotation of 'if'.

Tony M
France
Local time: 20:01
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 84
Grading comment
thanks
Notes to answerer
Asker: Once again. This is not my sentence. Personally, I think it is incorrect. I feel that I need to edit it, but am I not sure if that is justified. In general, do you as a native speaker of English think that "upon" meaning "during/while/when" is standard English use?.

Asker: "Persons shall be exempt from payment of the electronic inquiry fee upon inquiry concerning the persons themselves." (i.e. when they make an inquiry about themselves). - does this sentence seem ok to you as a native speaker?

Asker: Thanks a lot. I really appreciate your help!


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Veronika McLaren: Definitely a clearer construction
12 mins
  -> Thanks a lot, Veronika!

neutral  Yvonne Gallagher: really can't go along with this. Nothing awkward or dated or ambiguous/about the Eng. word. //Asker's original question was whether "upon" could mean "when" and it does! I gave alternative synonyms as well, including for your offerings:-).
4 hrs
  -> In many everyday cases, replacing 'when' with 'upon' would sound decidely stilted these days. And it tends to convey the idea of 'when (I have...)', with an element of 'after'. / Yes, but one needs to address the core issue in the question.

agree  Václav Pinkava: Agreed upon, upon being disagreed upon.
4 hrs
  -> Thanks, Václav!
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