4

The more you think about it, the less likely you will take action.

I feel that sentence sounds a bit awkward, especially the less part. I am not so sure if the sentence is correct, grammatically.

So what's the right way to put it? Or how can I rephrase it?

  • Needs work. This question could have been put in a different and more interesting way. Is a non-Q now. – Kris Oct 21 '12 at 4:18
11

Your problem is that we don't say "You will less likely take action", we say "You are less likely to take action" or "It is less likely you will take action". So one of those is what your second clause has to invert:

The more you think about it, the less likely you are to take action.

Or

The more you think about it, the less likely it is you will take action.

  • 1
    Not saying it's better, but you could also say, "The more you think about it, the less likely you will be to take action." And more conversationally it can be as simple as "The more you think about it, the less you wanna do it." – Jim Oct 21 '12 at 2:56
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    @Jim True. Or even simpler, "the more you think, the less you act" -- but now I'm getting pretty remote from OP's thoght. – StoneyB on hiatus Oct 21 '12 at 2:59
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    Do you know why that is? I agree that the two sentences you gave sound more natural, but I can't quite put my finger on why. – Ataraxia Oct 21 '12 at 3:40
  • So I guess we can't omit it is in the sentence, right? But certainly, these 2 sentences sound more natural. – woodykiddy Oct 21 '12 at 4:04
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    Stoney's first sentence sounds natural to me, but "The more you think about it, the less likely it is you will take action" seems to be a translation rather than a normal English sentence: I'd have to insert "that" before "you". "The more you think, the less you act" is the Jenny Craig version: attractive even if underweight. I'd say, "The more you think about it, the less likely you'll act on it": I insist on (pseudo)parallelism, even in speech. The "it is" adds only elided info that's unnecessary for native speakers. – user21497 Oct 21 '12 at 5:48
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The snappy reformulation is

Too much analysis leads to paralysis.

which I recall hearing in a TV comedy over twenty years ago.  The Quote Manual: Wisdom and Wit of the Ages lists

Too much analysis results in paralysis.
                    Unknown

which is a poorer rhyme, since the numbers of syllables don’t match.

Wikipedia talks about “Analysis paralysis” or “paralysis by analysis”, saying that the concept goes back as far as Aesop’s fables, cites Hamlet’s indecisiveness as an example, and compares it to Perfect is the enemy of good, which was popularized by Voltaire in French form.

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