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We can infer from his face that we did not do what was wanted.

As above, when a noun phrase or that clause gets long, we shift those phrases or clauses around and place the prepositional phrase in front of the noun phrase or that clause.

But what if both that clause and prepositional phrase become long? Is it recommended to use heavy element shift or not?

We can infer from the fact that he is angry about the decision that he will not do the work crucial to this project.

Or

We can infer that he will not do the work crucial to this project from the fact that he is angry about the decision.

Should I move it or keep the prepositional phrase at the end? Which one sounds more idiomatic?

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    I'm not sure 'work needed by him' sounds good here in any position. // The obvious thing to do is to rephrase. It is clear that he is angry about the decision. We can infer that he will not do the work needed. Sep 5, 2015 at 18:52
  • And also, should I rephrase it? Is there not a way I can say this in one sentence?
    – sooeithdk
    Sep 5, 2015 at 18:55
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    I'm not unhappy with the first alternative here; the second is heading towards garden-pathiness. With even longer prepositional phrases coupled with that-clauses, it just becomes too unwieldy. Sep 5, 2015 at 20:13
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    I actually think that both of the alternatives you give are reasonably comprehensible. But if you make them heavier, splitting it into two sentences becomes a very good idea. Sep 5, 2015 at 20:20
  • Do you mean if I make this heavier than what it is?
    – sooeithdk
    Sep 5, 2015 at 21:57

1 Answer 1

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Usually, the presence of "the fact that" is a clue that some rearranging of the scrabble tiles will probably be fruitful.

See how you like these:

We can infer from Jan's anger over the decision that he will not do the work crucial to this project.

OR

Given Jan's angry reaction to the decision, we can predict that he is not going to do the work crucial to this project.

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