"This is too obscure to understand by some readers"

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Stygere

New Member
English-Ireland
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
    Bulgarian
    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'.
     

    DonnyB

    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.

    [cross-posted]
     

    RedwoodGrove

    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
     
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