I have seen in at least two academic contexts sentences such as

The knowledge enables to determine...

I would instead write

The knowledge enables us to determine...

Since English is, in all of these cases, a non-native language for the writer, I am not sure if the word 'us' belongs in this type of sentences.

Is it correct to add the word 'us'? Is it correct to omit it?

  • 1
    In Russian we also omit us and this carries over into English (or Runglish rather) as "The new method allows to increase the total capacity of the plant by 20%". – CowperKettle Sep 7 '17 at 8:33
  • enable and allow and let and prevent and forbid require a nominal complement and cannot take an infinitive complement alone. Simple rewrite: "With this knowledge we can determine...". The modal can is your friend. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 7 '17 at 9:18
  • There is a variant without "us" : The knowledge enables determination of ... - this works because we turn the verb "to determine" into the noun "determination". (The same applies to allow,let,prevent and forbid). – MSalters Sep 7 '17 at 11:37
  • 4
    Writing things like "... enables to determine..." is a common mistake among non-native speakers. It often comes up in academic writing, since a large amount of academic communication is in English. – David Richerby Sep 7 '17 at 12:14
  • If you want to avoid the use of "us" (which reduces the generality of the statement), you can also write "The knowledge enables xxx to be determined." – Hutch Sep 7 '17 at 16:38

You are absolutely right! You include 'us.'

It is called a verb pattern.

'Enable' is a verb that requires the pattern of noun + to infinitive.

The knowledge enables us to determine...

A very good reference (including the verb in question) is on the British Council website.


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