EN: enable + infinitive

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by çamegonfle, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. çamegonfle Senior Member

    French (France)

    I always noticed that we (French people) have the tendency to use infinitiv very often, which is not the case of English. So I would like to ask you what do you find the most natural between the two versions of this sentence:

    They also enable to maintain the farmers on lands as well as to get a local income.

    They also enable the maintainance of the farmers on lands as well as the obtention of a local income.

    Elles permettent aussi de maintenir les agriculteurs sur les terres ainsi que d'obtenir un revenu local.

    It goes about biogas plants!
  2. cropje_jnr

    cropje_jnr Senior Member

    Canberra, Australia
    English - Australia
    Neither sounds particularly natural to me, athough I think using the infinitive is probably the best option nonetheless. Here's how I would say it:

    => They also enable farmers to be maintained on the land as well as (enabling) a local income to be obtained.

    In my experience, the main difference between French and English sentence construction is highlighted in the second point I've made above: you guys often use nouns where we prefer verbs, as shown. Of course, it also highlights our preference for the passive voice. :)

    Of course, opinions are only opinions; others may not agree.
  3. Angle O'Phial

    Angle O'Phial Senior Member

    USA English
    First, obtention is a terrible word, quite rare and, to my ear at least, with good reason.

    They enable farmers to remain on the land as well as provide a local (source of) income.

    It's tricky, style wise, to have also and as well as in the same sentence.
  4. çamegonfle Senior Member

    French (France)
    Sorry for your ears Angle! my original sentence was with infinitivs and I translated it too fast in the "nouns form" for this thread.

    I was "studying" your sentences, I'll try again to make threads like this, maybe sometime I will understand how English works!!

  5. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    These structures are frequently translated with the gerund form: enable keeping....

    This particular combination is equally ugly, though. Angle O'Phial is right - in this case it's much better to rephrase it.
  6. çamegonfle Senior Member

    French (France)
    Cropje, I looked my French version again and I noticed that I often used "on + activ" which I translated with "it + passiv". It might be what you meant.

    I think the problem I meant is the one described by Kelly, that I should use gerund instead of "of + infinitiv".

    And then if it sounds terrible, I will try to rephrase it.

    I will try to apply this, let's see! ;-)

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