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Knowing that they will have to deal with the consequences of eliciting another's enmity makes islanders more cautious about what they say or do.

I know it doesn't have very good flow, but is it grammatically correct? My English tutor says no, but I don't know what differentiates that sentence from, say, a phrase like "baking makes me happy" or "realizing I had homework to do made me eager to get home."

closed as off-topic by Hot Licks, jimm101, user140086, curiousdannii, ab2 Mar 6 '16 at 21:12

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    Did you ask your tutor what the exact issue was? – Kyle Mar 5 '16 at 21:45
  • She said something about a reduced clause, and that "baking" is a simple action while "knowing" implies something... more, and that's why they can't be used the same way. I was feeling pretty confused so I didn't really catch everything she said lol. She also said I should phrase it like this instead: "Knowing that they will have to deal with the consequences of eliciting another's enmity, islanders are more cautious about what they say or do." I agree that sounds less awkward, but I'm not sure why my version is considered wrong. – the real deal Mar 5 '16 at 21:51
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    I can't see anything wrong with the sentence, and your tutor's emendation turns it from a simple SVO sentence (albeit wih complex S and O) to a more complex sentence with a small clause modifying the S. – Colin Fine Mar 5 '16 at 21:55
  • I agree with Collin: this construction is OK. Her suggestion just turns into a different, equally fine construction. Perhaps she meant that it is a bit hard to parse this way? Because I do think the gerund construction is a tad long and complicated. P.S. I'd say "one/each another's enmity". Unless that's not what you mean. – Cerberus Mar 5 '16 at 21:58
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    I can't see anything wring with it either. It's long winded and wordy, and could be re-written differently. But that doesn't make it wrong. – Simon B Mar 5 '16 at 22:01
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Personally, I see no grammatical error with this sentence. Yes, it's a mouthful, but it is grammatically correct. Your tutor's suggested sentence is also correct, and may be more common than your sentence, but they both express the same idea.

  • Is this a personal feeling, or do you have a reason to conclude that the sentence (and the tutor's) is correct? – deadrat Mar 5 '16 at 23:44

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