1

We had better continue her piano lessons.

I know that the sentence "We had better let her continue her piano lessons" is better, but is the first sentence awkward or ungrammatical?

1

This is an allowed sense of continue:

continue 4. to draw out or be drawn out; prolong or be prolonged: continue the chord until it meets the tangent. [Collins]

In fact, there is another possible meaning:

continue v.intr. / v.tr. 4. To carry on after an interruption; resume. [AHD]

The meaning of the suggested rewrite is different again, indicating the learner's preference here.

Probably,

We had better keep on with her piano lessons.

would be used more often in the UK, probably because this sense of 'continue' is somewhat rarer, as you imply. Another more idiomatic version is:

We had better continue with her piano lessons.

0

We had better continue her piano lessons.

The above sentence isn't awkward, but it has a slightly different meaning to your second one, it doesn't suggest whether the person being referred to ("her") has any choice of whether to continue, you'd need the context of another sentence or a few extra words. For example:

We had better continue her piano lessons if she still wants to do them.

Whereas, obviously, the second sentence implies the person being referred to ("her") wants to continue with the lessons as you've used the wording "Let her."

-2

I vote for awkward. Since it is missing words that clarify what the sentence is about in the first place. Is she the teacher or student?

It looks like it's about the student but it is very ambiguous and therefore awkward. Since I am compelled to ask more questions in order to resolve this awkwardness.

  • I'm an English learner, and the sentence was a part of a dialogue. It was able to infer that 'she' meant the piano student. – Jin May 8 '14 at 8:31
  • 2
    1) I detect no awkwardness. It's a perfectly idiomatically formed sentence. 2) The question of whether the remark relates to a teacher or to a student makes no difference to its idiomaticity. – Erik Kowal May 8 '14 at 8:32
  • The fact that a sentence requires context does not make it awkward, since in real life, all sentences uttered do have context. – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 8 '14 at 9:33
  • @Janus In real life, most sentences submitted here lack sufficient context. – Edwin Ashworth May 8 '14 at 9:50
  • @Edwin, true—but that doesn’t make them awkward as sentences. It just makes it impossible to answer the usual “Should I use this phrasing or this phrasing?” questions. In this case, we can clearly say that the sentence is not in and of itself awkward. – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 8 '14 at 10:02

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