burden of co-existing harmoniously


New Member
I've recently read this sentence in an essay regarding the issue of whether we should support mixed-sex school or single- sex school.

" Free from burden of co-existing harmoniously with the opposite sex, boys and girls often turn their attention to scholarly pursuits.

There are some people having told me that we can't use BURDEN and HARMONIOUSLY in the same sentence like this because the former is negative word and the latter is positive word.
I'm really confused about this. Can we use these words in the same sentence?
  • I think the sentence is OK**. Here is another example. It was a burden, in front of my parents, for my wife and I to act as if we were getting along harmoniously.

    Example: I was upset that I had to act joyful about the promotion of the biggest schemer in my organization.

    I was unhappy that my son seemed so pleased that his little sister had to hobble around with a cast on her ankle.

    **ADDED. missing article as Loob says, below.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hello Duyle - welcome to the forums!

    I see no difficulty at all in having "burden" and "harmoniously" in the same sentence; in particular, I see no difficulty with your quote's "burden of working harmoniously".

    ("Burden" needs a definite article in front of it, but that's a different issue....)


    EDIT: I hadn't seen benny's answer when I wrote this - but I'm agreeing with him:)


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    There are some people who have told me that we can't use BURDEN and HARMONIOUSLY in the same sentence because the former is a negative word and the latter is a positive word.
    There is no such rule in English; don't believe anyone who tells you that there is.
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