I know both A) and B) are okay. But how about C)? That is, can I replace ‘to communicate’ with ‘communicating’ in the following sentence?

A) Aphasia is a language disorder that makes it very difficult to communicate.
B) Aphasia is a language disorder that makes it very difficult communicating.
C) Aphasia is a language disorder that makes communicating very difficult.


All three would be perfectly understandable & equivalent in everyday usage. I'm trying - and struggling - to find a rule that dictates which, if any, are grammatically preferred.

  • I have to disagree a bit - as a US English speaker, I find B extremely clunky at best, although it's understandable. I think it's awkward because the normal structure is "X makes Y Z" but in version B, Y = it, and then we have two things afterwards, not just one. – stangdon Aug 15 '18 at 15:30
  • Fair point, and in hindsight I'd be inclined to agree it's probably the least appealing of the three. – david_c Aug 15 '18 at 15:56

Google Ngram Viewer shows that 'difficult to communicate' and 'communication difficult' (as in 'Aphasia makes communication difficult') are much more commonly used than 'communicating difficult' and 'difficult communicating', so on those figures alone, your sentence A) is the best choice.

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.