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being deferential to authority is what they want to teach you

being deferential to authority is what they want you to be (correct but not beautiful)

The second version is more correct but I want an X you form. What is a simple verb to replace teach?

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  • make, perhaps? You asked for "simple" :)
    – slhck
    Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 14:11
  • @slhck, please post it as an answer, it could be the best :-) Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 14:15
  • Rather than taking a clumsy sentence and patching it to get another of the same ilk, rewrite it to be simple and direct. Eg: “They want you to be deferential”, “They teach you to be deferential”. Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 15:42

3 Answers 3

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If someone wants you to be something, then—in the most simple case—they make you something.

being deferential to authority is what they want to make you

Note that this has different connotations depending on the context and might sound negative. Usually, when you're making someone do something, you're forcing them.

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  • Making students do things is just what teachers do. They don't ask whether the students want to do it, do they? They tell the students to do it and turn it in as homework tomorrow or next week or next month. Same with your parents, your first teachers.
    – user21497
    Commented Jan 21, 2013 at 14:27
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"Being deferential to authority is what they want to impress on you."

This implies a suggested mode of behavior and not an ironclad rule.

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Perhaps you're looking for imbue:

Imbue: inspire or permeate with a feeling or quality.

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  • One would not say "being deferential to authority is what they want to imbue you". Maybe "imbue you with" or "imbue in you". So this does not really work grammatically within the OP's parameters.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 18:05

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