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Does "think" in the following context need s?

Jack might tell her that there is a problem and she thereby think that there is a problem.

It seems to me that in this sentence if "might" affect "think" then "think" does not need "s". But, other than that, it seems to me that "think" is in this context subjunctive and so it does not need "s".

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    The only thing that Jack might do here is talk, not think. As a result, she thinks. You want 'think'? If Jack tells her there is a problem, she would think there is one. – Yosef Baskin Jun 26 '17 at 3:48
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    Adding another 'might', or a 'might well' after 'she' would make this easier. I'd use 'might (then) believe him'. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 26 '17 at 23:29
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The subjunctive is not used like this. The clause would need the "s" suffix on the verb ("she thereby thinks that there is a problem") but the structure is wrong anyway. This is not a natural use of the word "thereby".

Better ways to say this:

  • with a to-infinitive: "Jack might tell her that there is a problem, causing her to think that there is a problem."

  • with a conditional: "Jack might tell her that there is a problem, and because of this she would think that there is a problem."

  • with both a conditional and a to-infinitive: "Jack might tell her that there is a problem, and this would cause her to think that there is a problem."

In fact, if you're using a conditional, you might as well change the clause talking about Jack to an if-clause:

  • If Jack tells her that there is a problem, she might think that there is a problem.

  • She might think that there is a problem if Jack tells her that there is a problem.

However, the repeated phrase "there is a problem" sounds awkward in these sentences. It would be better to reword the sentence to avoid this repetition, if you can.

  • "She might think that there is a problem if Jack tells her so."

Or as Yosef Baskin suggested:

  • "If Jack tells her there is a problem, she would think there is one."
  • "cause" looks awkward in some other examples like "cause her to believe" . What is the exactly wrong with "thereby"? – Sasan Jun 26 '17 at 4:04
  • @Sasan: Not sure how to explain it. "Thereby" would sound normal in a sentence like "The next step is to add water to the flour, thereby making dough." In your sentence, it doesn't sound right to me. – sumelic Jun 26 '17 at 4:11
  • @Sasan: Maybe you can think of "thereby" as meaning "in this way" or "by this means". And "by this means, she thinks that there is a problem" doesn't really make sense. She doesn't think this "by" means of Jack telling her that there is a problem; she thinks this because Jack tells her that there is a problem. – sumelic Jun 26 '17 at 4:14
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    @Sasan: You can see how "By adding water to the flour, we make dough" makes sense while "By Jack telling her that there is a problem, she thinks that there is a problem" doesn't make sense. – sumelic Jun 26 '17 at 4:16
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    @Sasan: That sounds better to me. It could be rephrased as "Jack telling her that there is a problem is the means by which she forms the belief that there is a problem." – sumelic Jun 26 '17 at 4:17

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