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People are not allowed to smoke in this area.

If I change this sentence into active like this,

"No one allows you to smoke in this area." Is it grammatical and natural?

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    This is grammatically correct, but very unnatural or even false. Your friend has no right to allow it, but he might. And it does not mean that you can smoke. Maybe you mean "no one is allowed to smoke in this area"?
    – MorganFR
    Feb 10, 2017 at 15:30

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It is grammatical, but in this context it sounds unnatural and does in fact change the meaning. A more natural sounding version would be along the lines of

The management does not allow smoking in this area.

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  • I would remove "The" in your suggestion or add "team" after "management".
    – MorganFR
    Feb 10, 2017 at 15:32
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    @MorganFR: That's just a stylistic choice - though the evidence from NGrams does suggest that things are moving towards your choice. Feb 10, 2017 at 15:40
  • @FumbleFingers Indeed it is, which is why I said "I would" instead of "you have to". This is as much a personal preference as it is the trend. However, signs and the like tend to use as few words as possible, for obvious reasons.
    – MorganFR
    Feb 10, 2017 at 15:44

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