permitted that

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Is it permitted that a man may have more than one wife.

I don't think the above sentence is correct, because "MAY" seems to me a redundant word and imposes an extra permission. Besides "a that clause" seems to jar things. The natural sounding way should go as "Is it permitted for a man to have....." or "Is a man permitted to have ....."

What do you think? Is a "that clause" possible as in "Is it permitted that someone MAY do something"
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    As a native speaker who hasn't studied the taxonomy of English, I probably wouldn't recognize a "that clause" if I stubbed my toe on it.

    The sentence is ok. It sounds extremely formal. It needs a "?" at the end. It sounds like a rhetorical question, rather than a conversational interrogative.

    Let's turn it around: That a man may have more than one wife is accepted in polygamous societies.


    Senior Member
    It sounds rather archaic to me, or as if it comes from a religious text. The verb "may" does not always indicate permission. In this case it indicates possibility, as in "It may rain today," so it is not redundant.

    A "that clause" is frequently used in sentences like this. Here are some more examples:
    Is it permitted that we conduct the wedding ceremony in the garden instead of in the church?
    Is is OK that we have our dog with us in the hotel room?
    Is is agreeable to you that we reconvene the meeting in the morning?
    It is a surprise that you arrived so early.
    It is a good thing that you passed your test.
    Is it a possibility that we might go see a movie tonight?

    Ms Missy

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Or how about ...Is it permissible for a man to have more than one wife?

    (I just thought I'd pass that along for purposes of "sound" even though I realize that you were asking specific questions about your original sentence, and not for a re-wording more in tune with colloquial usage).


    Senior Member
    Or how about ...Is it permissible for a man to have more than one wife?
    That does seem more like ordinary, modern conversation--less archaic, formal, literary, or religous-sounding.

    Kili, your other two suggestions are also perfectly grammatical and less formal sounding than, "Is it permitted that.."
    Is it permitted for a man to have more than one wife? :thumbsup:
    Is a man permitted to have more than one wife? :thumbsup: <-- My favorite choice because it is uncomplicated.
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