Is it (1) correct, (2) natural/wise to say the following in english: "[X] will be possible to be used here as [Y, ie. some function/role]"?

Are there any alternatives, and if there are, are they a superior or (else) a roughly equialent thing to say?

If it's not correct, could you point out what's wrong with it?

What I want to express is that in the future "you will be able to use X as Y here". Ie. you will be able to use the ladder (not yet built) as an aid to climb up to the roof. Of course I could use this form, but I'm trying to express it with the former to see if it is possible/OK. In particular I'm trying to avoid putting "you" or "one" in the sentence, but only if it's OK to do so.

  • 4
    It will be possible to use X as function/role.
    – RegDwigнt
    Sep 18, 2012 at 14:41
  • 2
    Another alternative: It will be possible for X to be used as function/role. Sep 18, 2012 at 14:43
  • @ЯegDwight, I see, thanks! I edited my question to ask what's wrong with my version. ps. You have a nice nick and one starting with that not-on-my-keyboard unicode key! :)
    – n611x007
    Sep 18, 2012 at 14:44
  • @PeterShor thanks! I guess my original version is incorrect, then?
    – n611x007
    Sep 18, 2012 at 14:48
  • 1
    Basically you are mixing up two different constructions, "it is possible to..." and "X is possible". I.e., I can't think of a situation in which "is possible" whose antedecent is the dummy it can be followed by an infinitive, unless you inject a "for X" the way Peter Short just demonstrated. X can't be the subject of both be possible and be used at the same time.
    – RegDwigнt
    Sep 18, 2012 at 14:49

2 Answers 2


In this statement, [X] is the subject of will be possible. But it's not [X] that will be possible.

What will be possible is for X to be used here as Y, the infinitive complement.

In other words, the sentence

  • For X to be used here as Y will be possible.

is the original source. This can be Extraposed

  • It will be possible for X to be used here as Y.

But the subject [X] can't be Raised, because the predicate possible doesn't govern Raising, with either an active or a passive infinitive:

  • *X is possible ... to be used here.
  • *X is possible ... to go here.

and it also doesn't govern Tough-Movement, which would extract an object instead of a subject:

  • *X is possible to use ... here.

There are predicates that will work in these constructions:

  • X is likely to be used there.
  • X is likely to go there.
  • X is easy to use there.

But possible is not one of them. Change the predicate and you change the constructions.


Possible here relates to use, not to [X].

*[X] will be possible to be used here as ...

(That asterisk in front of the sentence signifies it is ungrammatical).

However, I have seen some instances of such a sentence, and the reader probably assumes it to be correct and adopt it himself.

What may be a better though not elegant way to express your thought would be:

[X] will be amenable/suitable to be used here as...

And, of course,

It will be possible for [X] to be used here as ...


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