Is the following sentence grammatically correct?

I began to notice that things were suspicious.

If I google "that things were suspicious" it only comes up with 5 things.

  • 3
    Not finding it on google doesn't mean anything in this particular case. Just because something is an acceptable sentence does not mean that it will be frequently used. I'm sure I could write many perfect sentences that do not appear in a large number of works. Your sentence is technically okay. Out of context as it is, I admit that it seems a little odd/uncomfortable. With a little more context though: I first began to notice that things were suspicious when... - I don't see any problem with that.
    – Karl
    Apr 20, 2011 at 8:02

3 Answers 3


I think that

I began to be suspicious of things


I became suspicious of things

would be more correct.

  • 4
    I wouldn't say, "more correct". I would say that your examples are favourable but only because they are more concise. The original example is technically fine.
    – Karl
    Apr 20, 2011 at 7:57

Your sentence is grammatically correct -- there is nothing wrong with the word order, but it is not semantically correct. Like Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland, writing "the slithy toves outgrabe" it has good structure.

But what does it mean "things were suspicious"? How can "things" be capable of suspecting?

You could say, "things looked/felt suspicious" and it would be a little more clear.

Are you trying to say, "I began to feel suspicion"? In that case, use the active mode and and say, "I began to suspect..."

  • 1
    Suspicious can readily be applied to non-living things, e.g. "His behavior was suspicious".
    – Kosmonaut
    Apr 20, 2011 at 23:51
  • Right, but behavior is characteristic of a living thing, yes?
    – shipr
    Apr 21, 2011 at 19:53
  • "The computer's behavior was suspicious." "The positioning of the painting on the wall was suspicious."
    – Kosmonaut
    Apr 21, 2011 at 20:18

German uses a neat construction, Argwohn schoepfen, "to create suspicion," as in "die Biehnen schoepfen Argwohn," "the bees are becoming suspicious."

Back to original question: The usage seems fine particularly for informal language; formal usage may require a slight revision, as suggested above.

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