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We choose evidence that everyone can agree shows him being out of touch with reality.

Is this sentence grammatically correct? To me it only sounds correct when it’s modified to

We choose evidence that everyone can agree that it shows him being out of touch with reality.

Is the meaning still same with the bolded words omitted?

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  • The first version sounds fine. The second version sounds wrong, but I would take the same meaning from it. Can you confirm that your intended meaning is that you are cherry picking evidence that supports the idea that he is out of touch with reality, i.e. you are choosing not to include evidence that doesn't support that view? – nnnnnn Jan 11 '20 at 14:11
  • Your first attempt was fine; the second is not fine. There is no need for the it as a repetition of evidence.... – Lambie Jan 11 '20 at 16:55
  • Whether "agree" is transitive is a UK/US thing. It always makes my ears sting when I hear "agree" used transitively on BBC. – Hot Licks Jan 11 '20 at 18:18
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The different usages of agree are complicated. The Cambridge Dictionary gives four senses/subsenses for the verb, saying that three of them may be either intransitive or transitive. But there is only one transitive example (unless one extends 'transitivity' to include taking a clause as object) provided:

agree verb [ I or T ]

(2) to decide something together:

They agreed not to tell anyone about what had happened.

We couldn't agree on what to buy.

UK We finally agreed a deal.

M-W has 'to settle on by common consent' for this usage. One speaks of 'agreeing terms / a date / a ceasefire / a price ...'.

.....................

However, the sense of 'agree' in the question here is 'give mental assent'.

Breaking the sentence down into simpler ones, in either order we have:

Everyone can agree that the evidence we choose shows him being out of touch with reality.

We choose this evidence. [With this purpose.]

Note that the 'that' here is the complementiser, not the relative pronoun appearing in the original sentence (substituting 'which' there would make things clearer).

Combining without making deletions:

We choose evidence which is of such a nature that everyone can agree that it shows him being out of touch with reality.

So we retain the 'agree that' colligation. However, deletion reduces in a single step to

We choose evidence which everyone can agree shows him being out of touch with reality.

The second variant suggested is ungrammatical.

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