There are some sentences

  1. I see no reason to do these stupid things.

  2. I can find no sensible explanation for you to leave your master program.

An English professor from Canada at the university said that we could put the part "to do..." at the beginning in order to emphasize what made us angry, why we were angry.

I found the following sentences to be unusual and asked my British teacher that question. He also agreed with my professor and said:"Those sentences are OK even though they are not very natural."

  1. To do these stupid things, I see no reason!
    (I see no reason. For what? To do these stupid things!)

  2. For you to leave your master program, I can find no sensible explanation!
    (I can find no sensible explanation. For what? About what topic? For you to leave your master program)

So they agreed with each other but I still want to ask you that. What do you think?

  • I don't find #2 acceptable on semantic or syntactic grounds. It would be fine with explanation replaced by justification - but if that replacement isn't made, I think it requires more convoluted syntax. For example ...no sensible explanation as to why you might leave / have left your master program. – FumbleFingers Jun 5 '18 at 11:56
  • @FumbleFingers Well, thanks for explaining your opinions. Let's say we changed "explanation" to "justification" as you recommend. How about the word orders in the examples 3 and 4? Do you agree with my professors on the possibility to put them at the beginning for emphasis? – Jawel Jun 5 '18 at 12:16
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    I think that it's more idiomatic in French than in English to "front" a secondary clause the way your professor proposes, so given that Canadian English is continuously being influenced by French, that might explain his rather weird position. So far as I'm concerned examples like your #3 and #4 are rarely if ever "natural". – FumbleFingers Jun 5 '18 at 12:26
  • Okay, I will specify an idea but before that, I would like to ask you something in order to guarantee it. - I see no reason! How would you ask its question? Would you ask like "For what do you see no reason?" or "What do you see no reason to do?" ? @FumbleFingers – Jawel Jun 5 '18 at 13:02
  • It's not easy to imagine a sensible context where one person would say I see no reason! to another person who didn't know what was being referred to. In practice For what do you see no reason? (and perhaps to a lesser extent What do you see no reason for?) wouldn't be likely replies though. Most people would just say [No] Reason for what? But you are using the wrong site for questions like this. You should consider using English Language Learners instead. – FumbleFingers Jun 5 '18 at 13:12

Sentences 3 and 4 sound like non-native English speakers to me. I can't imagine what your professors were thinking of. The only way to make them realistic is something like:

But -- but -- to do these stupid things -- (tears hair out) -- I see no reason!

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Even if the new sentences aren't completely natural, you did the task. Both sentences are really uncomfortable to say and read, but still correct (I guess). I think your professor is trying to show you how wording a sentence differently can create a different tone, in this case an angry one.

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In my judgment, examples #3 and #4 are grammatical. Notice that #4 does not actually have the to-phrase brought to the beginning, but instead, "for you" is dragged along with it. It must be dragged along, because

*To leave your master program, I can find no sensible explanation for you!

is ungrammatical.

Giving correct grammatical judgments is a learned skill. Professors have it. Trust us.

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