differentiate what is good and what is bad

Ben pan

Senior Member
chinese
I know it is ok to say: I spend my whole life to differentiate what is good from what is bad.
But can I say: I spend my whole life to differentiate what is good and what is bad?
I did see expressions like "differentiation of good and bad", but still am not sure whether it is appropriate to use "and" when "differentiate" shows up as a verb.
 
  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I .. am not sure whether it is appropriate to use "and" when "differentiate" shows up as a verb.
    That is perfectly all right. You can say 'differentiate good and bad' as well as 'differentiate good from bad'.

    However it is not correct to say:
    I spend my whole life to differentiate what is good from what is bad.
    This sentence completely fails to specify the sense of the main verb, either as to time or semantic meaning.
    A native speaker cannot tell if the 'spending' is past, present or future.
    It is also unclear whether you mean actual spending or are expressing intention.

    You could be saying 'I have spent my whole life in differentiating good from bad' or 'I intend to spend my whole life differentiating good from bad': or various other possiblities.

    The simplest way to arrive at a correct sentence is to put 'differentiating' instead of 'to differentiate':

    'I spend my whole life differentiating what is good from what is bad'.
    Now it is a valid statement about present activity (it does not refer either to past or to future, and 'my whole life' now means 'all my current time and activity').
     
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