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He always knows how to treat the people he could benefit from well

or

He always knows how to treat well the people he could benefit from.

Are both these sentences grammatically correct? If not, why?

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  • Your sentences have several different changes besides the bolded ones: could vs can, a second ‘he knows’ in the second sentence. Would you like us to address all of them, or are you just concerned with word/phrase order? Apr 3 '20 at 1:08
  • Those words other than the ones in bold are mistakes, but I don't even see the edit option so I can't fix those mistakes. I'm just conrcerned about the word/phrase order. No need to address all the differences..just those two words in bold. Apr 3 '20 at 8:48
  • The secons sentence should be "he always knows how to treat well the people he could benifit from" Apr 3 '20 at 8:54
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The first sentence sounds more natural to me (at least in American English). However, if I were speaking, I would probably say, "He always knows how to treat the people he could benefit from VERY well" (with emphasis on "very"). That's because "treat" is a long way from "well". By the time you get to "well" you might need some help to re-direct the listener back to the word "treat", and emphasize the meaning that this person is very nice to people who help him.

The second sentence does not sound like something that a native English speaker would say or write. It's too long. You might want to say it differently, such as, "He is always good to the people who can help him."

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  • As to your suggested second sentence, I don’t think it has a similar meaning to the OP’s sentence. I think ‘who can help him’ gives a very different impression on the reader than ‘who he can benefit from’; the latter sounds much more opportunistic. Likewise ‘is good to’ vs ‘treat well’; ‘treat well’ sounds much more in the spirit of an ingratiating false friendship. Apr 3 '20 at 1:26
  • Good points! Maybe something like, "He's always very good to the people who help him the most."
    – SarahT
    Apr 3 '20 at 1:37
  • My apologies. I seem to have made a few mistakes typing that second sentence. There should be no differences in the words used in the two examples other than the different positioning of the words in bold Apr 3 '20 at 8:56
  • The second sentence should be "He knows how to treat well the people he could benifit from." Apr 3 '20 at 10:01
  • The sentences are both grammatical and have the same meaning. However, they are both somewhat awkwardly constructed sentences. Another option would be, "He knows how to treat people well when they benefit him."
    – SarahT
    Apr 4 '20 at 19:50

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