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I am trying to convey the next message:

Being an introvert doesn't mean [avoiding company/to avoid company].

Is it correct to use 'to avoid company' in the meaning of 'to be alone, to keep yourself away from company'? Should I use an article before 'company'?


Since it's uncountable, I am supposed to not use an indefinite article to describe a general idea.

company (U) - the fact of being with a person or people, or the person or people you are with

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    There's no grammatical rule saying you can't randomly switch verb forms, but most native speakers normally wouldn't. Choose either Being an introvert doesn't mean avoiding company, or To be an introvert doesn't mean to avoid company, to maintain stylistic consistency. – FumbleFingers Aug 28 '18 at 12:24
  • @FumbleFingers, thank you for the point. Is 'Being an introvert doesn't mean to avoid company' grammatically valid as 'Being an introvert isn't to avoid company' is? Are both statements correct? – Andrew Tobilko Aug 28 '18 at 12:29
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    Being an introvert refers to an existential/psychological state of mind, a person's character. to avoid company refers to an action in the abstract. Making the semantic leap required to make sense of your utterance is not difficult, but Being an introvert does not mean to avoid company is actually saying that the psychological state or character trait doesn't equate to the act of avoiding company. There are a number of ways to express the idea more clearly and idiomatically than that. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 28 '18 at 12:36
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    Andrew - like I said, choose either. It's nit-picking to claim one is "better" than the other - and for your exact context (and most similar ones) it's unrealistic to claim there might be some semantic difference between using the infinitive or the continuous participle. There are contexts where a careful / competent writer would definitely prefer one or the other, but that's a matter of stylistic choice, beyond the scope of ELL. But do take note of the "consistency" principle (again, not a rule, just a stylistic guideline / tendency). – FumbleFingers Aug 28 '18 at 12:58
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There is nothing wrong with to avoid company in and of itself.

An introvert is not someone who wishes to avoid company.

Being an introvert does not mean wanting to avoid company.

Being an introvert does not mean you want to avoid company.

  • I was a bit confused because Grammarly suggested putting either 'a' or 'the' before 'company' (here and other contexts) – Andrew Tobilko Aug 28 '18 at 12:23
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    Grammarly is wrong. It doesn't know what you're trying to say. It's just some algorithms. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 28 '18 at 12:24
  • They have an uncountable definition of the noun, so I thought they might have been able to figure it out. – Andrew Tobilko Aug 28 '18 at 12:38
  • Grammarly "thinks" you mean something like this: It's best to avoid a company when reviews by dozens and dozens of former employees say it is a terrible place to work. Does it also reject "Extroverts enjoy company"? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 28 '18 at 12:41
  • Yes, it does. It expects the definite article :) – Andrew Tobilko Aug 28 '18 at 12:43

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