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How should I fix a sentence which says "As X disappears, it is increasingly too late to do Y with X"? The sentence seems awkward to me, but "too late" is an adjective, so is the sentence grammatically correct?

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So far, I have "As X disappears, there are fewer remaining X to Y", but I'm curious if there are other ways to recast the sentence since the "too-late-ness" is what I want to emphasize. –  Neil G Aug 31 '12 at 0:27
    
The problem is simply that if something's already too late, it can't become any more so - that's like saying "As X dies, he is increasingly too dead to do Y". –  FumbleFingers Aug 31 '12 at 0:35
    
As X's health deteriorates, he is increasingly too unhealthy to do Y? –  Neil G Aug 31 '12 at 0:39
    
Well, obviously there are marginal cases that vary according to exactly what "too" modifies, but by and large it's either "too late" to do something, or it's not. You'd probably be better avoiding "too" completely, and going for something like "As X disappears, it is increasingly difficult to do Y with what remains". It might depend a bit on exactly what X and Y actually are. –  FumbleFingers Aug 31 '12 at 0:45
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@NeilG We only know what you disclose in the question. Note the comment is not "no research effort" but "research effort missing". The faq expands on this; also, see How to Ask: “Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and most of all it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer” [emphasis added]. –  MετάEd Aug 31 '12 at 3:56

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Your sentence has a problem because "too late" is not a matter of degree. "Too late" is a binary category -- either it is or it isn't -- so it makes no sense to talk about "increasingly too late". So what is changing over time? My guess is that your real meaning is:

As X disappears, it is increasingly difficult to do Y with X.

or, even better:

As X disappears, the chances of doing Y with X diminish to nothing.

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