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Reflect on Options
D00M
Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2018 1:52:31 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/2017
Posts: 1,609
Neurons: 7,593
Hello respected teachers,

What does "reflect on" exactly mean in the following?

Correspondence, whether it is by letter, fax, or email, is a key aspect of the world of commerce and business. It reflects on the competence and professionalism of the person who has written it and the company he or she works for.

I usually take that phrase to mean "carefully thinking about something". But it doesn't make much sense in the given context.



The custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language. Joseph Priestly- Rudiments of EG, 1761.
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2018 2:14:54 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 9,543
Neurons: 50,661
D00M wrote:
Hello respected teachers,

What does "reflect on" exactly mean in the following?

Correspondence, whether it is by letter, fax, or email, is a key aspect of the world of commerce and business. It reflects on the competence and professionalism of the person who has written it and the company he or she works for.

I usually take that phrase to mean "carefully thinking about something". But it doesn't make much sense in the given context.



"It (the correspondence) reflects on (is like a mirror held up to) the competence and professionalism of the person who has written it and the company he or she works for.

So how you write, and what your write, will cause you to be seen as a substitute for the company.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
D00M
Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2018 4:50:20 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/2017
Posts: 1,609
Neurons: 7,593
Thank you, FD.

Is the preposition "on" mandatory?

The custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language. Joseph Priestly- Rudiments of EG, 1761.
Hope123
Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2018 8:36:37 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/23/2015
Posts: 8,279
Neurons: 47,564
Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Excellent question, DOOM. Perhaps FD will answer as well when he returns. Maybe this will help in the meantime.

From TFD: re•flect (rɪˈflɛkt)

v.t.
1. to cast back (light, heat, sound, etc.) from a surface.
2. to give back or show an image of; mirror.
3. to serve to cast or bring (credit, discredit, etc.).
4. to express; show: followers reflecting the views of the leader.
v.i.
5. to be turned or cast back, as light.
6. to cast back light, heat, etc.
7. to be reflected or mirrored.
8. to give back or show an image.
9. to think, ponder, or meditate: to reflect on one's faults.
10. to serve or tend to bring reproach or discredit: His crimes reflected on the whole community.
11. to serve to give a particular aspect or impression: The test reflects well on your abilities.

Native speakers used to say "reflect upon" for this usage. But that's old-fashioned now and "on" is what most use these days.

The past is to be respected/acknowledged, not worshipped. It is in our future we will find our greatness. Pierre Trudeau
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2018 12:26:20 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 30,140
Neurons: 176,780
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hope123 wrote:
Native speakers used to say "reflect upon" for this usage. But that's old-fashioned now and "on" is what most use these days.

I still occasionally use 'reflect upon' - as I feel the whole phrase is a little formal anyway, why not go the whole hog?

I think there's a difference when one uses 'on'. It is less 'direct' and 'accurate'.

His inability to solve complex maths problems reflected the education level of his country.
His education was not good. This was an image of the whole country. It showed that the education level was not high.

His inability to solve complex maths problems reflected upon the education level of his country.
His education level was not good. This gave people a very bad impression of the education level of everyone else in the country.



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Romany
Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2018 1:10:25 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 14,385
Neurons: 44,801
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

I agree with Drago: it's subtle, but definite.

At school, if we did anything particularly heinous (like not wearing our hat) we'd be told that this dreadful action would reflect upon the whole school. Everyone would be thought to be hoydens.

But if we did anything bad during school holidays? Well that just reflected what a bad egg we really were!
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