1

I recently read a passage from a newspaper.

Therefore alcohol should be banned to enable people to have a long and happy life.

Q1) I'm confusing the part of 'people to have a long and happy life.'. Why 'to' is written between 'people' and 'have'? Because I think above sentence is made up of two part. One of them is 'Therefore alcohol should be banned.'. The other is 'Because it enables people have a long and happy life.'. So, I think this sentence have to remove 'to'. Am I wrong?

Q2)The comma is not using between 'Therefore', 'alcohol'. Is it correct?

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    This is short for in order to; it's what's called a "purpose infinitive". This is always a default case to try with an infinitive that doesn't seem to fit -- insert "in order" before the "to" and see if it makes sense that way. This is why stopped to smoke doesn't mean stop smoking; the first one is a purpose infinitive rather than a complement infinitive. – John Lawler Feb 14 '14 at 0:55
1

You're correct in the sentence having two parts. This part of your reasoning is incorrect:

Because it enables people have a long and happy life.

This statement isn't saying alcohol enables people have a long and happy life; it does the opposite.

Rearrange the parts:

To enable people to have a long and happy life, alcohol should be banned.

Take training, for instance.

To enable people to earn a living, low-cost training should be available to all.

to enable: to make (someone or something) able to do or to be something, where to is used as a function word to indicate that the following verb is an infinitive. When used this way, it sometimes helps to substitute in order to.

In order to enable people to earn a living, low-cost training should be available to all.

Put it back to the original form:

Low-cost training should be available to all in order to enable people to earn a living.

  • 1
    I'm appreciate your kind and elaborate answer. Now, I can understand about 'in order to'. Thanks for your precious time. – hyun Feb 14 '14 at 2:20
1

The "to" is correct but can be dropped with no change in meaning— at least here. As John Lawler mentioned it's short for "in order to" and means "with the purpose to do/have something" in this case "to have a happy life."

  • I may be misunderstanding your answer, but are you saying that the example sentence can become "alcohol should be banned to enable people have a long and happy life"? – nxx Feb 14 '14 at 2:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.