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Have you ever felt disgust at 'being more sociable' or 'having right connections' beating the merit?

I wrote the above sentence but the Grammarly is showing this sentence to be wrong. It asks to change 'disgust' to 'disgusted'. According to it , the correct sentence would be ,"Have you ever felt disgusted..."?

In my opinion,"Have you ever felt disgust?" is alright. Since I am using disgust as a noun it seems alright to me. Why to change it to past participle form? To me, both are alright! What is your say?

  • It is very odd to feel disgust at being more sociable. I just cannot understand that. Anyway, the usual past is: I was disgusted. – Lambie Jun 29 '19 at 17:40
  • I meant that in the context of nepotism. Sometimes having right connections beats the merit or ability. The feeling of revulsion at that phenomenon is what I meant by disgust at being more sociable. Is 'have you ever felt disgust' wrong grammatically? – Prince Kadyan Jun 29 '19 at 17:53
  • I think you need some preliminary dictionary work. – Lambie Jun 29 '19 at 18:04
  • Duplicate of ELU question I felt 'disgust' versus 'I felt disgusted' – Weather Vane Jun 29 '19 at 18:05
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    Yes, normally, in English, we say: I am disgusted by or I was disgusted by. We don't go round saying: I feel disgust. "Have you ever felt disgusted by" or "felt disgust for" sounds like a survey question, frankly. – Lambie Jun 29 '19 at 18:54
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Have you ever felt disgust at 'being more sociable' or 'having right connections' beating the merit?

This sentence is a little bit puzzling, mostly, for me, because of the phrase "beating the merit". But since that is not part of your question, I'll ignore that part and focus on "Have you ever felt disgust ...":

There is nothing wrong, grammatically, with that phrase.

You can "feel disgust", disgust being a noun and the direct object of the verb "feel". And you can also "feel disgusted", where "disgusted" is an adjective (not really a past participle in this case) describing how you feel.

Both of those constructions mean pretty much the same thing, but because "felt disgusted" is more common, if you use the other expression, "felt disgust", it catches the listener's ear a little bit more, and sounds even stronger than the more ordinary phrase ("felt disgusted").

As it is, "disgust" does seem like a pretty strong emotion to feel toward "being sociable" or "having the right connections", but that doesn't make the grammar incorrect. Perhaps "Grammarly’s AI-powered writing assistant" was confused because of the uncommonness of your sentence, and in this case, I think it is wrong. I personally wouldn't put much faith in an artificially intelligent proofreader. Human languages are too complicated for that.

On the other hand, did Grammarly comment on "beating the merit"? Maybe AI is smarter than I think, because I couldn't figure out the meaning of that part of the sentence.

EDIT: OK, after reading your comment, I do now understand the meaning of "beating the merit". I was confused by the way that phrase seemed to be stuck on at the end of the sentence after the two objects of disgust (being sociable and having connections).

If you mean to speak against the fact that "being more sociable" and "having the right connections" are both valued more than an individual's merit, I think it might be clearer if you combined that idea into one linguistic object as the focus of the "disgust".

Something like (for example):

Have you ever felt disgust at the [fact/idea/reality] that 'being more sociable' or 'having the* right connections' [is more important than/carries more weight than/trumps] someone's individual merit?

...* It may be regional, but in US English, we tend to use an article with "having the right connections."

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    I guess it means someone getting a job through connections, not on merit. Hence the disgust. – Weather Vane Jun 29 '19 at 18:15
  • Thanks for the quite helpful answer! No, Grammarly didn't comment anything on "beating the merit" part. By "beating the merit", I meant that the quality of having more connections and superficial friendliness can get people more success when compared to "being meritorious". It's a highly judgemental statement on my side, though! – Prince Kadyan Jun 29 '19 at 18:15
  • As you can see, considerable reworking was necessary because one normally says: Have you ever been disgusted by or at [x]. Question: There is nothing wrong with what phrase? – Lambie Jun 29 '19 at 18:56
  • @Lorel C. Your edit is quite helpful. When I read your answer again, I could sense the difficulty the reader would have faced in interpreting my sentence. I tend to write in an abstract manner (e.g. I used "beating the merit" instead of something like "outcompeting someone who is more meritorious"). As I can learn from your feedback, being verbose for the sake of clarity is not a bad idea. Regarding "the right connections", Grammarly is suggesting prefixing the "the". But, I assume avoiding it is also not grammatically wrong. Thanks again! – Prince Kadyan Jun 29 '19 at 18:59
  • @Lambie : reworking, but not of, "have you ever felt disgust at". – Lorel C. Jun 29 '19 at 19:16
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It's funny but as a non- native speaker i gripped the meaning of "beating the merit" on the spot. And it's also notable that i would unequivocally prefer "i feel disgust at...". I think that phenomena arise from analysing English by the non-native speakers as a kind of Maths under the conditions of lack of live english surroundings. For example, in "i feel disgusted" i take "disgusted" as a past participle which is irrelevant in many synthetic languages, whereas it is an ajective.It seems irrelevant because to me it conveys the idea of agentive.Someone must have turned me disgusted.So,I would say:"I feel disgusted by that man", but "I feel disgust for the situation" and "I feel disgust at him smiling".

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  • Thanks! At least, I found someone who understood the sentence in the first go! Also, that agentive sense is illuminating. A new insight!. – Prince Kadyan Jul 2 '19 at 18:06
  • I am glad if I aided you in your search. – Eugene Jul 2 '19 at 20:08
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Here's your original sentence:

Have you ever felt disgust at 'being more sociable' or 'having right connections' beating the merit?

I think this is what you meant:

Have you ever felt disgust when 'having the right connections' was more important than merit?

I don't know anything about grammarly's rules; the sentence, as I rewrote it, is okay. However I suspect you are misunderstanding disgust. Disgust, in my experience, refers to a sensory reaction. For example, my German father-in-law would kill a fly with his hand, and then continue eating. He didn't even wipe his hand on a napkin. Strangely, my in-laws' table was elegant in terms of the tablecloth, the dishes, and the silverwear, but they never used napkins. I felt disgusted when my father-in-law killed a fly that way; my reaction was one of disgust, and this is a formal way of expressing the feeling I had. I could express the same thing in informal terms with "Yuck!"


When you are gaining experience communicating in a new language (new to you), it is a good idea to

(a) read a lot;

(b) when writing or speaking, use short, simple sentences and known vocabulary as much as possible.

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  • Thanks! I just searched the meaning of disgust on Merriam Webster. One meaning of disgust is, "annoyance and anger that you feel toward something because it is not good, fair, appropriate, etc." while another meaning is , "a strong feeling of dislike for something that has a very unpleasant appearance, taste, smell, etc" . So, I think my usage is not that inappropriate. However, I agree that most common meaning of disgust is as you are suggesting. – Prince Kadyan Jun 30 '19 at 6:20
  • @PrinceKadyan - Sure. But the comment threads on this page show that the "ew, yuck" meaning is often assumed. Also, talking about disgust with anything involving feeling would tend to tilt things over to the "yuck" meaning. // But again, I can't explain what Grammarly's software is doing. – aparente001 Jun 30 '19 at 13:09

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