5

I don’t believe this sentence sounds right:

  1. You are influencing your negative behavior over me.

I'd instead rephrase it more like this:

  1. Your behavior creates a negative influence over me.

Is that better? Is my assessment accurate?

1
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    This is more of an interpersonal skills rather than an English language thing, but I wouldn't use either. It comes off as accusatory/disclaiming your ability to control your own emotions; a better way of communicating is something more like "When you do [thing], I feel [feeling]."
    – nick012000
    Nov 29, 2019 at 8:52

2 Answers 2

7

The first sentence is grammatically impeccable. But grammatically correct sentences can be as nonsensical as this one is. Apparently, someone (the addressee) is in the process of having an influence over his/her own behaviour, and, it seems that the speaker has embarked on this unpleasant in the course of some sort of dispute "over" the speaker. For the only 'correct' use of the word 'over', in this context, would be in relation to a dispute of some kind. In the Cambridge English Dictionary:

Connected with. (referring to a cause of interest, worry, discussion etc)

There is no point in arguing over something so unimportant.

However, as mentioned above, grammatical as it is, it makes no reasonable sense.

The second sentence is grammatical and makes good sense, even though it is somewhat stodgy, using unnecessarily formal language. I should think, depending on the circumstances, something more direct would be clearer and stronger.

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    In fact we like to think we are influencing our own behaviors most of the time, don't we? The alternative is that we're acting involuntarily, either due to a mental/physical disorder, some kind of mind control, or the non-existence of free will in general.
    – David K
    Nov 29, 2019 at 18:55
  • @DavidK That is another matter, much discussed in the 1950s and 1960s. And I think it was settled pretty well.
    – Tuffy
    Nov 29, 2019 at 19:07
  • 1
    Really settled? I had the impression from philosophy class that the free-will question still wasn't completely settled even in the 1970s. But for practical purposes, unless one is having a seizure or some other unusual event, it is assumed that one influences one's own behavior.
    – David K
    Nov 29, 2019 at 19:14
  • 1
    @DavidK ‘Influence’ is surly the wrong word, no matter what position you take on freedom of will. Influence is what you have over people and things outside myself. But in any case, I have just realised that I have strayed from English Language & Usage. I have a higher degree in philosophy but thought I was answering a question about language! So ‘over and out’.
    – Tuffy
    Nov 29, 2019 at 19:23
  • @DavidK and Tuffy Good debate and thank you! Dec 1, 2019 at 19:22
11

The sentence as provided is incorrect. While your rephrasing is grammatically right, it's still a little awkward. I would say either "your behavior has a negative influence on me" or simply "you are influencing me negatively."

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