Sometimes writing sentences feels like algebra; if I start with one thing I have to make sure the rest of the sentence works. This time, I seem to have really put myself in a difficult position.

Policy expectations _____________ the deadline to be extended.


Everyone expects policy makers to extend the deadline.

While there is nothing wrong with the second way, and indeed, both sentences are prosaic. However, the second sentence is too prosaic. I really want to start the sentence with "Policy expectations" if possible. Seems almost impossible since expectations are abstract and can't "do" anything. But maybe I'm wrong, so I'll just ask to be safe.


What would be an appropriate verb or verb phrase to place after expectations? Would like to keep "Policy expectations" as the first words, but can change the latter parts of the sentence if needed.

  • 1
    I don’t understand why expectations that a deadline will be extended are policy expectations. I can’t think of a word that would make this sentence scan. I’d just say, Policy makers are expected to extend the deadline.
    – Xanne
    May 8, 2020 at 3:30
  • 1
    Policy expectations forced the deadline to be extended? May 8, 2020 at 3:49
  • 1
    Policy expectations... Do policies expect anything? Maybe try a usual passive construction: The deadline is expected to be extended. May 8, 2020 at 4:58
  • 1
    Policy expectations should provide (=should have provision) for the deadline to be extended. Does it work?
    – Ram Pillai
    May 9, 2020 at 14:54

2 Answers 2


How about require? From M-W:

require: to call for as suitable or appropriate OR to demand as necessary or essential

Your example:

Policy expectations require the deadline to be extended.

Update: This sentence seems perfectly understandable and reasonable to me. However, if you find expectations require objectionable, you could go with a small edit such as the following, which preservers policy expectations as your desired subject:

Policy expectations dictate that the deadline be extended.

From M-W:

dictate: to require or determine necessarily, e.g., injuries dictated the choice of players, the weather will dictate how long we stay.

Or you could go with something like:

Policy expectations necessitate that the deadline be extended.

Policy expectations call for the deadline to be extended.

Whether you go with require, dictate, necessitate, or call for, it would seem that the policy makers don't have much of a choice: they need to extend the deadline to meet the expectations of those on the receiving end of the policy.


If the sentence is simply to be rearranged, and then something put into the blank without any other changes, it might look like something like this:

Policy expectations cause everyone to believe the deadline to be extended.

However, that's slightly awkward. If some degree of additional editing is allowed, the following might sound a bit more natural:

Policy expectations cause everyone to believe that decision makers will extend the deadline.

The tricky part is making sure that certain words don't get repeated, which is why believe is used, rather than expect reused, and, in the second variation, decision is used rather than policy reused.

But this also assumes that the rearranged sentence actually means the same thing as the original, or that it makes sense at all, which might not necessarily be the case.

  • Everyone believed that decision makers would extend the deadline: that’s complete. Or, believes and will.
    – Xanne
    May 8, 2020 at 6:12

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