Let's say you just received an unexpected gift from one of the insurance companies you are subscribed to. You wonder why is that, because the company does not give gifts to common subscribers like you, and you say:

"I don't get it, why would I be eligible for receiving any gifts from them?"


"I don't get it, how come I become eligible for receiving any gifts from them?"

In terms of phrase/word choice, is this correct?

  • it is, but in my opinion (as a native speaker of Russian;) it creates a somewhat comical effect using a formal word in an informal situation. Everything that goes after the comma is a question and should be structured accordingly. – Michael Login Sep 6 '18 at 21:38
  • You got a point, any alternatives? – John Arvin Sep 6 '18 at 22:58

I see some problems with those two sentences. One problem is that they are comma splices, since "I don't get it" is a sentence in itself.

Another problem is with "eligible for". Specifically, "eligible for" is used with a noun (or a pronoun like "what"), but you can also say "eligible to verb" (i.e. "with infinitive" as in this definition). Thus, it would be grammatical to say:

  • Why would I be eligible for any gifts from them?

  • Why would I be eligible to receive any gifts from them?

Note: The "rules" for eligible may not be particularly obvious in the dictionary, but it becomes pretty apparent if you search a corpus such as the Corpus of Contemporary American English. Doing a search for eligible for _v*, where _v* matches verbs returns only 36 results, all of which are either "eligible for NounEndingInING" (e.g. "eligible for funding") or cases where there's a stranded preposition that refers to an earlier (pro)noun (e.g. "what we were eligible for is a loan").

While "how come I become eligible to receive..." is technically grammatical, the tense isn't appropriate. You could say "how come I became eligible to receive...", since presumably you became eligible in the past, before they shipped the gift. Or, you could say "how come I'm eligible for a gift?"

One last thing I'll note is that if you're looking for something informal you should replace "receive" with "get" (since the latter is more informal). Personally, I'd say:

I don't get it. Why'd I get a gift?

Note that "why'd" is nonstandard and ambiguous (as it could be either "would" or "did", not that it really makes a difference either way) but that's pretty typical of spoken English.

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When using eligible with a verb, the preposition used is to not for. (You can use for but if you do, then a noun should follow it, not a verb, and your sentence would need to be rephrased even more than what I would suggest.)

From Merriam-Webster's definition of eligible:

1 a : qualified to participate or be chosen • eligible to retire

So, a better phrasing of your sentence is:

"I don't get it, why would I be eligible to receive any gifts from them?"

If you want to say something that sounds more natural:

"I don't get it. Why would they send me a gift?"

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  • Hello, could re-phrase the whole sentence to make it sound more casual and grammatical? Hehe – John Arvin Sep 7 '18 at 2:29
  • @JohnArvin So added. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Sep 7 '18 at 2:32
  • The use of to or for has nothing to do with any sort of imagined normality, it has everything with to do with the words being used. You are eligible to <action/verb> answer incorrectly, and eligible for <noun/object> constructive criticism. – apocalysque Sep 7 '18 at 8:53
  • @apocalysque So noted. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Sep 7 '18 at 9:20
  • "eligible for receiving" Why do you consider using a gerund here to be incorrect? – Michael Login Sep 7 '18 at 14:40

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