the goals to attain correct English

Rareform

New Member
Russian
But they don't know what are the goals to attain correct english? <-----Example sentence added to post by moderator (Florentia52)----->

Good day, I would like to know if the sentence in the thread title is correct. I feel fishy about the phrase, I feel like "what are the goals to be attained" or "which goals they should attain" are correct, but with this one I am not sure rather gravitating towards it being wrong.
 
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  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s not clear whether that’s meant as a statement or a question. And “to attain correct English” is a strange phrase to use.

    … they don't know what the goals are… (statement format)
    … don’t they know what the goals are…? (question format, with inversion)
     

    Jektor

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    This doesn't sound as if it has been written by a native English speaker. It is not usual English.
    I assume it is meant to say something like:
    "They don't know how to progress through the various stages of achieving a good command of English.
    or:
    "They don't know where to start to attain a good knowledge of English.

    I feel fishy about the phrase...
    .
    That is not correct English. It can mean you smell of fish! You need to say something like:
    "I am not sure about this phrase...
    "I don't really understand this phrase...
    Circumstances or a situation can be "fishy" - "that seems a bit fishy to me..."
    forum.wordreference.com - he-smells-fishy.2968665

    (cross posted)
    .
     

    Rareform

    New Member
    Russian
    It’s not clear whether that’s meant as a statement or a question. And “to attain correct English” is a strange phrase to use.

    … they don't know what the goals are… (statement format)
    … don’t they know what the goals are…? (question format, with inversion)
    "They don't know how to progress through the various stages of achieving a good command of English.
    or:
    "They don't know where to start to attain a good knowledge of English.
    Oh, I confused you a little bit, sorry. My question is solely about "But they don't know what are the goals to attain". And the rest was just a question if its correct english. So how do you find the phrase "But they don't know what are the goals to attain" ? Thank you for pointing the fishy mistake out.
     
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    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    So how do you find the phrase "But they don't know what are the goals to attain" ?
    This has been basically answered in #2. If you remove "to attain", then "But they don't know what are the goals" would usually be considered the wrong word order, and should be corrected to "They don't know what the goals are".

    However, in circumstances where the object grows in size (such as when you expand "the goals" to "the goals they need to attain"), and when therefore the distance between what and are becomes too big, I think it is then acceptable to use the "wrong" word order.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think 'goals' might be misused because surely their goal is 'attaining correct English', as they put it. They could mean how to attain that goal. If 'how to' is too simple, then a word like 'methods' or 'means' could be used.
    But they don't know what are the goals to attain correct english? <-----Example sentence added to post by moderator (Florentia52)----->
    I see the title does have 'English' capitalised. Apart from my doubts and misgivings about 'goals', 'attain' and 'correct English', the construction is awkward. An indirect question behaves like a reported question, with the subject coming before the verb - in a direct question the verb comes before the subject.
    What are your aims?
    She asked what my aims are.
    She wanted to know what my aims are.

    The problem with the OP sentence is the very long noun phrase subject 'the goals to attain correct English?'
    The usual word order for indirect questions leads to 'are' being stuck at the end of the sentence.
    'But they don't know what are the goals to attain correct English are.'
    I've dealt with what I perceive to be the problems with the OP sentence as well as the phrase you specifically asked about. Please always give us a complete sentence.

    Edited.
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    'But they don't know what are the goals to attain correct English are.'
    The OP has explained in post 4 that the words "correct English" aren't part of the sentence he's asking about: he's asking about this sentence
    "But they don't know what are the goals to attain".
    (I agree with Edinburgher's answer in post 5.)
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Ah!:idea: Thanks for making that clear, Loob.
    Welcome to the forum, Rareform! Apologies for giving you more than you asked for! :)
     
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    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Oh, I confused you a little bit, sorry. My question is solely about "But they don't know what are the goals to attain". And the rest was just a question if its correct english. So how do you find the phrase "But they don't know what are the goals to attain" ? Thank you for pointing the fishy mistake out.
    Yes, your thread title is extremely confusing!

    How do you intend to use the clause “… but they don't know what are the goals to attain”? As stated in #5, this is not standard word order. It does not sound natural. Can you please tell us the context, and provide the main clause it belongs with, so that we can give you a proper answer.

    Please note, too, that the word fishy means suspicious. It makes no sense as you’ve been using it.
     
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