Maths is worth learning for everyone

I'm a native speaker but I cannot for the life of me tell if this sentence is correct... I'm not sure if the problem is the preposition or worth vs worthwhile, or if there's no problem at all and I'm just being silly. It seemed correct at first but then it got got weirder the more I thought about it...

This version sounds more natural to me:

It is worthwhile for everyone to learn maths

  • You sure it's not about math vs maths - that's the first thing that struck me. – squidlydeux Feb 2 '18 at 14:02
  • Note that in US English it's always math, never maths. – stangdon Feb 2 '18 at 15:01
  • 2
    And in British it is always maths, but treated as singular. That's not the issue here. – James K Feb 2 '18 at 17:56

The sentence is correct but it does not sound natural because we expect learning to be followed by the subject being learned:

I am learning french.

We can fix this easily by moving learning to the beginning of the sentence: we also have to switch to worthwhile because worth must be followed by a noun phrase.

Learning maths is worthwhile for everyone.

In your second sentence, for everyone to learn maths sounds like nobody will benefit unless everybody does it. You can fix this by replacing everyone by anyone.

It is worthwhile for anyone to learn maths.

You could also split worthwhile, and use would to make it more of a polite suggestion:

It would be worth anyone's while to learn maths.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.