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Everyone wants to be a student of this university because its good reputation is helpful in landing a job when graduating.

When the adjective(helpful) is possitive, seems like the Adjctive+ Preposition Verbing pattern would flow properly.

Nobody wants to be a student of this university because its bad reputation is difficult in landing a job when graduating.

But when the adjective is negative (difficult) , seems like the Adjective + Preposition Verbing pattern is considered incorrect.

The above two sentences have two similar structures, but why is one correct and one is not and what is the reason behind that?

  • I think it is just a word choice problem, consider "negative" words that function similarly to helpful: detrimental, unhelpful, useless. Also consider what a difficult reputation would be. – katatahito Jul 11 at 6:19
  • @katatahito I think I am grasping the idea. So , likewise, the sentence wouldn't work if I say something like "it's good reputation is easy in landing a job" ? – Huan Ying Jul 11 at 9:45
  • Exactly( except also it's should be its). We do not usually say that reputations can be easy (unless talking about a person and their sexuality). But, you could say "its reputation makes it easy to land a job". Think about how in the first sentence, the main idea is that the reputation is helpful. The "in ..." clause just specifies in what area the reputation is helpful. – katatahito Jul 11 at 23:51
  • @katatahito Got it , thank you so much for the answer ! – Huan Ying Jul 12 at 2:22
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Frame Challenge (?)

I will try to synthesize an answer from the exchange I had in the comments with OP.

Short answer: No, your proposed reason, positive vs. negative adjective, is not the reason why the second sentence does not make sense. The main reason it doesn't make much sense logically.


If one considers negative adjectives that are more apt at describing a "bad reputation", then one can see it is word choice that is the problem and not negative vs. positive:

Nobody wants to be a student of this university because its bad reputation is detrimental for landing a job when graduating.

a bad reputation can be detrimental, a bad reputation is not easily described as difficult.

However, one can:

have a bad reputation of being difficult

but that would imply that the university is known for being difficult (probably in terms of unhelpful administration, bad advisers, complex financial systems) for students to endure.


One check is to make sure that the descriptor mostly makes sense when you remove the modifiers:

... because its good reputation is easy in landing a job (Incorrect)

A university's reputation being easy, used this way, doesn't make much sense. A way to rephrase this and still use easy is:

... because its good reputation makes it easy to land a job

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