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Someone brought this sentence to me as her topic sentence for a paragraph: "Team players can cause success in their group." The moment I read it, I thought there's something unnatural about it. Then I said she could improve it by other words because we usually use 'cause' to talk about negative effects. I suggested:

Team players' performance can lead to their group's success.

Team players' performance can bring about achieving success in their group.

Team players can bring their group success.

I want to have a native speaker's opinion on that. Does her sentence need any improvement? Can any of the sentences I suggested be considered as an improvement?

  • I don't know what direction you want to take this. I suggest Team players are important to a successful group. – Davo May 31 '17 at 12:50
  • @Davo My question is simply whether it's OK to use cause in this sentence: if it sounds awkward or not. – Yuri May 31 '17 at 20:23
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    Technically it's fine, but I agree it's a bit awkward. I also don't like the use of "can" - it makes the topic she's advocating for sound very weak. I would go with something along the lines of "Team players make their groups successful", or "The foundation of successful teams is teamwork" or something like that. It's understood by anyone that not every team player guarantees success for their groups, but as it's originally written the sentence sounds too wishy-washy, particularly for a topic sentence. – PMV Jun 1 '17 at 4:27
  • I think "contribute to" is a better phrasing than "cause" for this. The atmospheric makeup doesn't cause my personal success, but without it I would be dead, and unable to succeed. – Davo Jun 1 '17 at 11:42
  • Thank you all I kneeeew there is something with it, pheew :-) – Yuri Jun 1 '17 at 21:26
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Technically it is OK, but success involves more than cause and effect, and it does sound rough. Maybe:

Team players can bring success to their group.

Using bring:

  1. verb
    To bring someone or something into a particular state or condition means to cause them to be in that state or condition.

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