0

A general definition of leadership is that it shows the way for others either by example or by advocacy. Crucially, this definition is sufficiently general that it does not entail being in charge of those who follow.

that it does not entail being in charge of those who follow.

How could this that-clause come out in this sentence? For example, because "so or such" can be followed by that-clause, I know why that-clause appears after so or such. But how could the above sentence have "that-clause"?

  • It means "so that". – Lambie Jun 2 '17 at 16:16
  • 'Crucially, this definition is sufficiently general to not entail leaders being in charge of those who follow.' is perhaps a more common structure, but is here unwieldy. '... general enough that it does not entail being in charge of those who follow.' is very probably acceptable, so I don't see that the original is less so. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 2 '17 at 18:37
1

This is an extension of the so .. that construction to sufficiently .. that.

I'm old-fashioned, and prefer to cast the complement of sufficient as a to infinitival; but I've seen the construction with that more and more often over the last 20 or 30 years, and it's a development in the direction of regularization, so I've decided I'm not going to let it me bother me.

  • Via the ' ... enough that' construction? – Edwin Ashworth Jun 2 '17 at 16:44
  • @EdwinAshworth I don't let that one bother me either. Life's too short. – StoneyB Jun 2 '17 at 16:46
  • I thought that expressions like the OP's "that it does not entail being in charge of those who follow" were acceptable in AmE as resultative content clauses. – BillJ Jun 2 '17 at 17:26
  • @BillJ Acceptable, yes. For what it's worth, Google Ngrams seems to show that the infinitival versions (sufficient(ly) ... to, enough to), although still markedly more common than the constructions with content clauses, have been losing ground since just about the time I started learning English. – StoneyB Jun 2 '17 at 18:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.