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Get started early to allow for possible problems.

I am trying to rewrite this by changing the noun "possible problems" to a sentence. My example is as follows:

Get started early to allow that problems may occur.

Is "allow that" correct?

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  • It is unclear what you mean when you write "changing the noun 'possible problems' to a sentence". Do you mean you want to change it into a that-clause?
    – TimR
    Oct 8, 2017 at 11:21
  • Yes. I would like to use that-clause .
    – rama9
    Oct 8, 2017 at 11:28

2 Answers 2

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allow for and allow that... mean different things, and in your scenario, allow for is the right one.

They left early to allow for traffic.

They left early in case they should encounter heavy traffic along the way.

allow for wants a nominal complement. We can make possibility that complement and in turn complement it with a that-clause:

They left early to allow for the possibility that they would encounter heavy traffic.

We can complement allow with a that-clause:

I will allow that you have made a good point about the questionable benefits of ethanol.

I will concede that you have made a good point.

We can also make a noun or pronoun the indirect object of allow and a noun its direct object:

They left early to allow {themselves} io {extra time} do, in case there was heavy traffic along the way.

They left early to give themselves extra time.

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Get started early to allow that problems may occur.

Is "allow that" correct?

No.

Allow has a number of senses. Only one of these licenses a 'content clause' complement (a finite clause optionally introduced by that). That is the colloquial sense (now fairly rare) "acknowledge, admit, claim", which is not the sense employed in your original sentence.

To allow for X is an idiom meaning to "anticipate"—to include in your plans the possibility of X happening and prevent X from creating unwanted results. The for is essential to its meaning.

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  • How about "allow for the situation that/where problems may occur"
    – rama9
    Oct 8, 2017 at 11:30
  • 1
    @rama9 That's fine, but unnecessarily wordy. And it doesn't mean quite the same thing: the original anticipates problems, your rewrite anticipates situations. Oct 8, 2017 at 11:34

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