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The technicians were fired to reduce costs.

I have a doubt about whether this sentence is grammatically correct or not and whether I must add "for a noun" so as to make it clear what was to reduce costs as in "The technicians were fired for the company to reduce costs".

To sum up, is it grammatically correct to omit "for the company"? and even if it's grammatically incorrect, do native speakers tend to violate the rule that we must make it explicit what is the subject that "to reduce costs" modifies?

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  • I'm struggling to see why you think this is a grammatically incorrect sentence. "Costs" here is a noun. "Firing the technicians will reduce costs" is correct as well, the passive voice has nothing to do with it.
    – scatter
    Jun 13, 2019 at 18:36
  • Can you give an example sentence with this omission?
    – scatter
    Jun 13, 2019 at 18:40
  • @scatter Like.. can't I change this sentence "I put up the old car for sale to buy a new one" as "The old car was put up for sale to buy a new one" ?
    – GKK
    Jun 13, 2019 at 18:42
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    This example is entirely grammatical and idiomatic. Adding "for the company" would make it sound awkward, not better. :)
    – Ben Zotto
    Jun 13, 2019 at 20:08
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    The sentence is grammatical, but it's a little confusing. It would be clearer if written as the technicians were fired in order to reduce costs. (Compare the original with the technicians were excited to reduce costs.) We can understand what's meant in context, but the syntax can be improved so that it's more explicit. Jun 14, 2019 at 5:33

2 Answers 2

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It depends entirely on the context. For example, you could write

The technicians were fired to reduce the company's costs.

but

  1. "The company" is not really the subject of the infinitive. The possessive is an adjective modifying "costs"
  2. The passive tense already implies the subject is whoever employs the technicians. It's not necessary to explicitly repeat this to relate it to costs.
  3. It's fairly obvious that it's the employers who are going to save money from this action, not the technicians.

You would have to add specifics if it is not clear what the infinitive clause modifies. For example:

The technicians were promoted to improve productivity.

Although this sentence is grammatical, it's not clear whose productivity is improved. The technicians? The company overall? The executives who make these kind of decisions? Better to be clear:

The technicians were promoted to improve company productivity.

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The technicians were fired to reduce costs

is perfectly acceptable. "to reduce costs" is the reason why they were fired.

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