"This is too obscure to understand by some readers"

< Previous | Next >


New Member
An American friend of me just said this and to me it's grammatically wrong; but he claims it's correct. Can you please help me to figure out whether it's grammatically correct or not?
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    It is understandable, but I agree that it is not quite grammatical. It is a possible slip when you begin your sentence in a very natural way, saying 'this is too obscure to understand' and then you realise you want to add the 'some' part, as an afterthought. But to conceive that sentence as a complete thought - no, not me. :)

    Maybe something like:
    For some readers this is too obscure to understand.

    And maybe a thousand better ways of expressing the idea...

    PS. It is wrong because 'by' is normally preceded by a past participle, as in 'understood by', not 'understand by'.


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    It's grammatically wrong with "by some readers", which requires a passive construction. So your options, as I see them, are:
    This is too obscure to understand (which changes the meaning as it implies that no-one can understand it).
    This is too obscure to be understood by some readers.
    This is too obscure for some readers to understand.



    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Obviously it should be: "This is too obscure to be understood by some readers." Or: "This is too obscure to understand for some readers." I have no idea why your American friend wants to say it the other way.

    cross-posted by Donny
    < Previous | Next >