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

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: To non-native English writers: expunging the solecism "This allows to do something."
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2016 10:35:49 -0500

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  > 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.

That's true.  In addition, that formation is unclear
because it fails to say who or what will do the thing.

The right way to write it is this way

  > (i) The person or other agent being allowed, followed by an infinitive
  >   verb:

  >     "This allows YOU to do something."
  >     "This allows EMACS to do something."

because it explicitly states who or what will do the thing.

These three constructions

      > "This allows DOING something."
      > "This allows THE DOING OF something."
      > "This allows SOMETHING to be done."

are correct English, but they share the problem of failing
to clarify who or what will do it.

  > The same considerations also apply to "permit", "enable", and "prevent"

That's right.  The point that we want to state who or what will be
permitted, enabled or prevented applies to them too.

Please everyone, fix these constructions to state the subject
and follow correct English.

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation (gnu.org, fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (internethalloffame.org)
Skype: No way! See stallman.org/skype.html.

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