1

Imagine that, in a school, the principal notices that two students have had a bad fight and one of the students beat up the other one. The school's principal is talking to the other responsible individuals of the school in an emergency meeting and wants to say we have to take some measures to prevent these types of happenings from now on. He says:

  • We must act in a way so that these events will never take place again

  • We must act in a way so that these events will never happen again.

I have no idea if I've phrased the above examples properly and I'm not sure if they work properly to the native speakers. For me, they do, but I need a confirmation. If they don't, I would appreciate it if you could let me know how a native speaker would phrase it.

  • 1
    Those are both perfectly good English, but they mean something slightly different than what you describe wanting to express. I am absolutely stumped on how to explain the difference of why you want "We must take action such that these events will never...." rather than "We must act in a way so that..." But you do. – Codeswitcher Jan 6 '17 at 7:42
  • @Codeswitcher "We must act in a way..." sounds to me like he's talking about setting an example for the students to follow (passive steps), whereas "we must take action..." is more about setting rules or conducting sensitivity training or something (active steps). – miltonaut Jan 6 '17 at 8:04
  • Though not ungrammatical, your suggestions sound overly wordy. If I were the principal, I’d probably say something more like, “We can’t let these things ever happen again." – J.R. Jan 6 '17 at 9:42
  • @miltonaut Exactly! Yes, that. "We must act in a way" suggests continuing to do the same actions, but in a different way, not taking different actions. – Codeswitcher Jan 6 '17 at 21:56
1

Those your examples are both perfectly good English, but they mean something slightly different than what you describe wanting to express. The expression "act in a way" suggests not actually doing different things, but doing the same things in a different way. To express that he "wants to say we have to take some measures to prevent these types of happenings from now on " that is better expressed as "take action".

So:

We must take action so that these events will never happen again.

That said, as @J.R. observed, that's rather wordy. (Which is perfectly in keeping with some principals of my acquaintance!) In particular "these events" is superfluous and can usually be replaced by "this". So it might also be expressed:

We can’t let this ever happen again.

We must not let this happen ever again.

We must prevent this from ever happening again.

We must take action to prevent this ever happening again.

3

There term preventative measures comes to mind. It means to take action now, to stop something from occurring in the future, which seems to be what you are describing here.

We must take preventative measures so that these events never happen again.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.