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If I put an indirect object before a direct object when I use the verb teach, would it be grammatically wrong to use the preposition to as in the first following sentence? Which ones of the following sentences are correct?

Parents teach to children which behaviors are acceptable by their reactions.

Parents teach which behaviors are acceptable by their reactions to children.

Parents teach children which behaviors are acceptable by their reactions.

It sounds like correct but apparently according to Longman dictionaries the word is not used in this way since it does not have direct object before it.

  • Option 3, while technically ambiguous, doesn’t bother me. The other two are unacceptable. – G Tony Jacobs Dec 8 '17 at 5:35
  • Even better: Parents teach children, by their reactions, which behaviors are acceptable. – G Tony Jacobs Dec 8 '17 at 5:36
  • @GTonyJacobs why don't you write an answer? I'd love to hear more of your perspective . Thank you. – Mrt Dec 8 '17 at 6:39
1
  • Parents teach to children which behaviors are acceptable by their reactions. POOR ENGLISH, BUT SOMEWHAT UNDERSTANDABLE. It doesn't specify that the children are those that belong to the parents. Who's reactions? Also, "teach to" is awkward.

  • Parents teach which behaviors are acceptable by their reactions to children. SEMANTICALLY WRONG.

    It's saying "Parents teach which behaviors are acceptable" and they do so by the parent's "reaction's to children". Also, it does not specify who the parents are teaching. "George demonstrates the correct technique by his reactions to the monkeys." George is teaching by reacting to the monkeys. Who is George demonstrating this for?

  • Parents teach THEIR children which behaviors are acceptable by their reactions. FAIR OR POOR. Who's reactions?

Suggested:

  • Through (or "by") their reactions to their children, parents teach them which behaviors are acceptable.
  • Thank you. These kinds of answers are very helpful. I'd like to ask that if the first sentence would not acceptable in an academic content, would it strike the reader that a native speaker of English never write this sentence? ( If the reader is also native speaker of English) – Mrt Dec 8 '17 at 6:51
  • @Mrt - The first sentence doesn't sound like a native English speaker. They might write it as #3. FYI, it's academic context. – CoolHandLouis Dec 8 '17 at 7:36

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