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In 1900 electrically powered cars were more popular than gasoline powered cars because they were quiet, operated smoothly, and......

  1. handled easily
  2. easy to handle

My professor has told me:

"You can never ever use easy to handle about the sentence above."

Would you tell me why?

  • This question appears to be off-topic because OP has already asked the same question on thefreedictionary forum – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Apr 21 '14 at 15:37
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    Please be considerate. It's only common courtesy to tell people when you cross-post so they don't waste their time duplicating the efforts of others. (However, SE policy does not forbid cross-posting to non-SE sites, so the question should not be closed for that particular reason.) – snailplane Apr 22 '14 at 5:17
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    If your professor said you cannot use "easy to handle" in that sentence, then what does your professor say is correct? Or why its wrong? You should at least give your professor a chance at defending his/her opinion. – user3169 Apr 25 '14 at 3:21
  • I don't know about never, but I can see why your professor would say "easily handled." It follows the "verb + adverb" immediately preceding it. Meanwhile, "easy to handle" is a much more common phrase and what I would have chosen had I not been considering parallel structure. – Teacher KSHuang Jan 24 '17 at 11:02
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I question the wisdom of making a blanket statement like that, without explaining why there's a problem.

As you said in your comment, there is nothing wrong with:

In 1900 electrically powered cars were more popular than gasoline powered cars because they were quiet and easy to handle.

The were in that sentence applies to both quiet and easy to handle. The problem is when you put a different verb in between the two phrases:

In 1900 electrically powered cars were more popular than gasoline powered cars because they were quiet, operated smoothly, and easy to handle.

In addition to using the verb form handled easily, there are at least two additional ways you could fix the problem. First, you could move operated smoothly from the middle to the beginning or ends:

In 1900 electrically powered cars were more popular than gasoline powered cars because they operated smoothly, and were quiet and easy to handle.

In 1900 electrically powered cars were more popular than gasoline powered cars because they were quiet and easy to handle, and they operated smoothly.

Or, you could add an extra were to account for the break:

In 1900 electrically powered cars were more popular than gasoline powered cars because they were quiet, operated smoothly, and were easy to handle.

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In 1900 electrically powered cars were more popular than gasoline powered cars because they were quiet, operated smoothly, and handled easily.

In 1900 electrically powered cars were more popular than gasoline powered cars because they were easy to handle.

These look great. The grammar is good and they sound almost native. I only have a couple of suggestions...

  1. I would add a hyphen to "electrically-powered" and "gasoline-powered" since you are using them as adjectives.
  2. Consider changing "electrically powered cars" to "electric cars".
  3. Did they have electric cars back in 1900? Is this logical? Would making a statement like this confuse the reader?
  4. I would change "were easy to handle" to "handled well". This uses the definition of "handle" that you want to use. "Were easy to handle" is ambiguous and can have a second meaning. "Were easy to handle" can mean something like "were easy to touch", which is not what you are trying to say here.

Other than that, it looks perfect. Great job.

  • Thanks. But, what a bout this one? In 1900 electrically powered cars were more popular than gasoline powered cars because they were quiet and easy to handle. – nima Apr 20 '14 at 14:15
  • Cars were more popular because they were quiet, (they) operated smoothly, and (they) were easy to handle. Would you tell me the reason why the sentence above is not right?Think – nima Apr 20 '14 at 15:57
  • They're both correct. It is as I said in my original answer though. Handle has two meanings. 1) feel or manipulate with the hands, and 2) drive or control (a vehicle). If you use the construction "easy to handle", it can either mean 1) easy to feel or manipulate with the hands, or 2) easy to drive or control. If you use the construction "handles easily", it eliminates #1 because an inanimate object cannot touch, but it can be driven or controlled. It is a trick to force the verb to only take on one meaning, which I personally think increases clarity. However, either will work. :) – RedDragonWebDesign Apr 20 '14 at 20:38

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