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Example (I saw it on some page)

So, you can see that we need a conjunction to for the sentence to be clear!

Which of the following are rewritten correctly?

  1. So, you can see that we need a conjunction to the sentence for the sentence to be clear!

  2. So, you can see that we need the sentence a conjunction for the sentence to be clear!

  3. So, you can see that we need a conjunction to and for the sentence to be clear!

In the first two examples I repeated one words two times. In the third - just a conjunction.

Is there a rule? I think in the example word sentence is dropped!

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  • "So, you can see that we need a conjunction for the sentence to be clear!" is all that seems needed. – Jim Mar 1 '18 at 5:44
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    Neither the original nor any of the rewrites is grammatical or makes any sense at all. To simply has nothing to do in that sentence; get rid of it. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 1 '18 at 8:50
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The original is arguably valid but very strange and hard to read. There lies ambiguity in the prepositional phrase of to. My interpretation is that it makes an omission like so:

So, you can see that we need a conjunction to [the sentence] for the sentence to be clear!

Which gives us (1), which is correct but I would prefer to use a pronoun in place of the second "the sentence":

So, you can see that we need a conjunction to the sentence for it to be clear!

The same goes for (2), which I think is clearer than the original but still doesn't read well. I interpret (2) as making an omission like so:

So, you can see that we need the sentence [to have] a conjunction for it to be clear!

It's as if (3) is trying to fix the original but ends up making it worse because it removes no ambiguity whatsoever, while introducing the conjunction 'and' that really shouldn't be there, further fueling the reader's confusion.

If I could rephrase the whole sentence, I'd write

So, you can see that the sentence needs a conjunction for it to be clear.

  • Do you really prefer #2 to #1? If so, how do you parse "the sentence a conjunction" as the thing said to be needed? – Lawrence Mar 1 '18 at 5:12
  • I totally agree with you with the first two examples, but don't get why isn't correct the third? But why the author wrote so? As I understand he is native, but his sentence written in such way?! After prep phrase usually goes object of prep phrase, but in the origanal after prep goes prep and then objects of prep or is it correct when prep phrase is a object of prep? – Frank Parker Mar 1 '18 at 5:15
  • in the second example "the sentence" is an indirect object. – Frank Parker Mar 1 '18 at 5:17
  • I updated my answer to explain why (3) makes the original sentence more confusing and arguably invalid. – contrum Mar 1 '18 at 5:57
  • I updated my answer again to explain how I parsed (2). – contrum Mar 1 '18 at 6:03

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