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Re: To non-native English writers: expunging the solecism "This allows t

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: To non-native English writers: expunging the solecism "This allows to do something."
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2016 12:51:56 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.24 (2015-08-30)

Hello, Steve.

On Sun, Jan 24, 2016 at 11:54:04PM +0100, Stephen Berman wrote:
> On Sun, 24 Jan 2016 21:06:02 +0000 Alan Mackenzie <address@hidden> wrote:

> > For some time I have been irritated by sentences of the form "This
> > allows to do something" in our source and documentation.

> > Such a sentence formation is NOT ENGLISH.  The verb "allow" absolutely
> > requires a direct object, not an infinitive verb.  This direct object
> > can be one of various things:
> [...]
> > The same considerations also apply to "permit", "enable", and "prevent"
> > (although the preposition after "prevent" is always "from", never "to").

> > I have done my best to expunge these solecisms from our source and
> > documentation files (including NEWS).  PLEASE take care to avoid adding
> > any new ones!

> You missed some instances, which I found by running rgrep on the Emacs
> source tree with this regexp (without the quotes):

> "[^-]\(allow\|enable\|permit\|prevent\|require\)[^-de ]* to "

Yes, I'd overlooked "require"; but there are instances of "requires to"
which are OK.  The regexp I ended up using was:

    '\b\(require\|allow\|prevent\|permit\|enable\)s\? to\b'

, and some fancy playing around with -A1 and -B1 flags to grep to find
instances (and there were a few) where the verb is at the end of a line
and the "to" at the beginning of the next line (modulo comment markers,

> This does, however, also return several false positives, most of them
> with "require" (one is written as `require' and one or two of the others
> should probably be quoted like that).  I don't have time in the next few
> days to commit a fix for these, so if you do, please go ahead.

Well, I've knocked down quite a few more instances.  I can't guarantee
there're none left, of course, but there aren't many.

> Steve Berman

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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