difficult to deal with/difficult to be dealt with

< Previous | Next >

KAEDE_RL

Member
Chinese
Which usage is more proper? It seems both usages are common in google results.

And I feel I can find many other similar cases, such as "difficult to define/ difficult to be defined" "difficult to understand/ difficult to be understood". Is there a general rule for this?
 
Last edited:
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Yes, there are two, I think:
    • With an adjective (here: difficult), don't use the to be version. In both of your examples it's wrong.
    • With a verb, such as to be, to remain, you can use either version. For example: There is a report to be written... There remains a lot of work to be done... Or: There is a report to write... There remains a lot of work to do...
    But someone else may have a better explanation.
     

    KAEDE_RL

    Member
    Chinese
    Thanks Keith for your explanation. I also searched online for more discussions on this topic and this is a summary which you may have a look:

    - "it is difficult (for someone) to deal with" actually omitted "for someone".
    - Use this simpler active form in most cases unless it would cause ambiguity.
    - A case of ambiguity would be "the chicken is ready to eat".

    These sounds reasonable and may be helpful for some others with the same confusion like me.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top