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I think the following sentence is correct.

  1. The box can be put down there if it/the box does not block the way.

I am wondering if it is grammatical to say

  1. "The box can be put down there if not blocking the way."
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  • Welcome to ELL stack exchange! This is an interesting question. What do you mean by “it/the box” in example sentence #1? The reader understands that “it” means the box, so you’d never need to use the box at that location. Sep 11, 2019 at 2:22
  • OK. I meant we can say "if it does not block the way" or "if the box does not block the way". I agree with you. The latter one is redundant.
    – user150245
    Sep 11, 2019 at 19:21

1 Answer 1

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Yes, it’s grammatically correct, but sounds formal

Sentence two is adequate:

  1. 😐✔️ OK: The box can be put down there if not blocking the way.

This is also grammatically fine:

  1. 😐✔️ OK: If not blocking the way, the box can be put down there.

However, it sounds like a very formal register of English, as if it’s a set of written directions in an instruction manual.

For a more natural sound, try:

  1. 😃 ✔️ Yes: The box can be put down there if it doesn’t block the way.

Or:

  1. 😃 ✔️ Yes: The box can be put down there if it isn’t in the way.

All of the above sentences are in passive voice — (“can be put”). That makes it sound very abstract.

If you can, be direct and use the active voice:

  1. 🤩✔️Best: If it won’t be in the way, you can put the box down there.

Or even...

  1. 🤩✔️ If it won’t be in the way, put the box down there.

The active voice (#6-7) requires a subjectyou, or they, or the movers, for example. If you don’t know who will be doing the “putting” (the subject), this isn’t available to you.

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