Please have a look at the constructions below:

  1. The table of values were changed to be more accurate.

I am fairly confident that the above sentence is good English, with the meaning that the values were altered so that they more accurately represent... The 'to' in the context above is synonymous to 'in order to'.

However, if I place it into the S-V-O structure, it would turn into:

  1. I changed the table of values to be more accurate.

It doesn't retain the same meaning does it? Reading it gives the impression that I was the one being referred to as 'more accurate'. So how can I reword it in a similar and correct way? (Preferably still using an infinitive after the object)

Note that I am looking more sophisticated/ formal ways of expressing it. So I don't really want to use the sentences like:

  • I changed it to make it more accurate.

  • I changed it so that it is more accurate.

Please offer feedback and alternatives.

  • You could include something like in order to more explicitly define the relationship between the primary statement (I changed the table of values) and the optional additional "reason" clause (to be more accurate). It's still inherently ambiguous as to whether it's supposed to mean in order to make the writer or the table "more accurate"., but I'd still have to ask: Does it make any difference? In practice, I think not. Mar 7, 2017 at 16:37

1 Answer 1


I find your 2. to have precisely the meaning you want. "X changes Y to be Z" says that Y is made Z, not that X is.

Incidental note:

In your first example, I would use "was" not "were". For me, "a table of" does not operate like a quantifier in the way "a number of" does, so "table" remains the subject and is singular. Having said that, the meaning is that the table was changed to be more accurate, which may be a less specific claim than you intend . If it is the values themselves rather than (say) their selection or format which was changed, you might want to say

The values in the table were changed ...

  • I dunno about that. In, for example, He changed the text of his speech to be more inclusive, who's to say whether the intention was that he himself should be seen as more inclusive, or just the speech? Obviously if "he" is Theresa May's speechwriter, and we replace "his" by "her" there's really only one possible interpretation in that respect, but in general that wouldn't necessarily be the case. Mar 7, 2017 at 18:00

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