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I'm always struggling with these structures:

1) It's important/vital/essential that + subject + (should +) verb

  • It's vital that you (should) do exactly as I say.
  • It's important that they (should) attend every day.
  • It's essential that everyone (should) be here on time.

2) It's strange/natural/interesting/curious that + subject + should + verb

  • It's curious that they should offer him the job.
  • It's strange that he should be late.
  • It's only natural that parents worry about their children.

Even though I know these sentences are grammatically correct I find them a little complicated and cumbersome with all the "shoulds" and subjunctives and everything, so I tend to avoid them and say:

It's important/vital/strange/natural/etc. + for + pronoun + to...

The thing is I'm not sure this is always correct. Do you think it's possible to change the sentences above this way?

  • It's vital that you do exactly as I say. → It's vital for you to do exactly as I say.
  • It's important that they attend every day. → It's important for them to attend every day.
  • It's essential that everyone be here on time. → It's essential for everyone to be here on time.
  • It's curious that they should offer him the job. → It's curious for them to offer him the job.
  • It's strange that he should be late. → It's strange for him to be late.
  • It's only natural that parents worry about their children. → It's only natural for parents to worry about their children.

So can I think of this as a rule that works (at least) most of the time?

Thanks.

  • 1
    Welcome to ELL! Note that to force a line break you must either separate the lines with a blank line or put two spaces at the end of the first line – StoneyB Jun 30 '15 at 23:12
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You can make the sentences even shorter. In most cases, you can omit "that" and "should." Some sentences can have double meanings, so you may want to say exactly what you intend.

"It's vital that you do exactly as I say."

If it's vital for "something," you write:

It's vital you do exactly as I say.

If it's vital for "you", you write:

It's vital for you to do exactly as I say.


"It's important that they attend every day."

If it's important for "something," you write:

It's important they attend every day.

If it's important for "them," you write:

It's important for them to attend every day.


"It's curious that they should offer him the job."

If they already offered him a job, you write:

It's curious they have offered him the job.

If they have not offered him a job yet, but they might, you write:

It would be curious if they offered him the job.


"It's strange that he should be late."

If it is strange, in a certain occasion, that he is late, you write:

It's strange he is late.

If it is strange that he is late, because he is never late, you write:

It's strange for him to be late.

-1

These sentences are different to me, e.g. It's vital that you do exactly as I say (It is generally vital, maybe for the state, for me but not for you, etc.) → It's vital for you to do exactly as I say (It is vital for you).

  • Welcome to EL&U, IamRita This is an interesting start. That said, it's hard to see how this answers the original poster's full question. It feels more like a comment. I recommend looking at some recent questions and answers and getting a feel for how others answer questions. The tour link at the bottom of the page will also help. – TaliesinMerlin May 23 at 16:52

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