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I am writing an essay and have a question about it.

If I say:

While some people say that it is a good thing, others deem otherwise.

Is it awkward?

I'm confused about the sentence 'others deem otherwise.' Is it grammatically correct? If so, does it sound natural?

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  • It sounds ok to me.
    – S Conroy
    Aug 18, 2019 at 18:10

2 Answers 2

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I believe it’s grammatical as the verb deem is both transitive and intransitive, and in this case it has the latter function. Coming to whether it sounds natural, I have never come across such usage of deem. ‘While some say it’s a good thing, others disagree’, seems more usual.

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? While some people say that it is a good thing, others deem otherwise.

Strictly speaking, it's grammatical. However, it's unidiomatic and unnatural, and it wouldn't normally be expressed in that exact manner.

From Merriam-Webster's definition of deem:

transitive verb
: to come to think or judge : CONSIDER
// deemed it wise to go slow
// those whom she deemed worthy
// a movie deemed appropriate for all ages

intransitive verb
: to have an opinion : BELIEVE


Following that, if you substitute the intransitive and synonymous believe, you end up with this:

While some people say that it is a good thing, others deem believe otherwise.

However, the intransitive use of deem is rarely used, and I've certainly never seen it used like this.


It would be far more natural, and quite common, to use the transitive version of deem:

✔ While some people say that it is a good thing, others deem it otherwise.

This is not only much more idiomatic syntax, but it also preserves stylistic parallelism with the use of it in both parts of the sentence.

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  • thank you so much !! it helped me a lot :)
    – drksk
    Sep 4, 2019 at 11:10

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