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My textbook says they are incorrect, but I fail to find their mistakes.

Many men still have difficulty accepting a woman to be a business partner.

At the daycare center, the teachers treated the children like their own children.

  • It would help if you added more detail. Which lesson in your book are these sentences from? – ColleenV parted ways Dec 19 '17 at 4:19
  • @ColleenV It's a examination unit. No contexts are provided. – A Learner Dec 19 '17 at 4:28
  • What were you learning in the unit? Everything about English, or something more specific? – ColleenV parted ways Dec 19 '17 at 13:07
  • @ColleenV Everything about English, a general unit. It's not specific. – A Learner Dec 19 '17 at 14:40
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I would reword like this:

Many men still have difficulty accepting a woman as their business partner.

At the daycare center, the teachers treated the children as if they were their own children. (I might omit the second "children.")

  • Thanks. I know both are unnatural but I have no idea if they are grammatically correct. – A Learner Dec 19 '17 at 3:35
  • Do you mean only the first sentence is grammatically correct while the second one is incorrect? – A Learner Dec 19 '17 at 4:09
  • "Many men still have difficulty accepting a woman to be a business partner." It might not be grammatically correct because the verbs are in different tenses(?): "Men...accepting" and a "woman to be..." Reword so the verbs are the same: Many men still have difficulty accepting a woman's being their business partner." But that makes "being" a gerund, so maybe not. I don't know what's grammatically wrong with the other sentence. I can only see rewording it for clarification, like "At the daycare center, the teachers treated the children like they would their own children." – Dee Dec 19 '17 at 4:11
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The first sentence is grammatically correct, but does not sound natural. Probably the only usages of the wording accept someone to be are in religious writing, for example:

...we pray that you, a non-Christian yet, accept Him to be your personal Savior and Lord... - The favor of God our trinity

In this context, accept someone to be means starting something new- a transition- whereas in your sentence the intended meaning relates to something that will last for a while - a state. This can be better expressed using as or in the role of.

Many men still have difficulty accepting a woman as a business partner.

The second sentence is also grammatically correct, but ambiguous because the intended meaning has been subjected to some clumsy ellipsis. The intended meaning is:

At the daycare center, the teachers treated the children like they would treat their own children.

but it could be misinterpreted as

At the daycare center, the teachers treated the children as if they were their own children.

The difference is one of emphasis: the intended meaning relates to the way the teachers behave toward the children, but the unintended meaning relates more to possesion/parentage.

Taking the intended meaning and applying a more natural ellipsis, children should go first, and then treat next. We have to retain they would in order to avoid ambiguity:

At the daycare center, the teachers treated the children like they would treat their own.
At the daycare center, the teachers treated the children like they would their own.

  • Interesting, on the children in daycare question, I thought the idea you are labeling a "misinterpretation" was the intended meaning. I think both are very similar, though. I think the true potential for misinterpretation is just the present indicative: treated the children like they treat their own children. After all, the teachers may or may not have their own children, at all. Still, +1. – joiedevivre Dec 19 '17 at 4:23

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