Do the sentences below sound normal to native speakers?
- To stop him now is important.
Stopping him now is important.
- To argue is useless.
Arguing is useless.
- To help these people is my duty.
Helping these people is my duty.
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To my ear,
1) "To stop him now is important" sounds awkward although I can see it being technically correct. "Stopping him now is important" (perhaps, to some, emphasises stopping him) is fine, but I would say "It is important to stop him now" (which may emphasise the now part more).
2) Both are fine. "To argue is useless" to me has a feeling that it is a saying about someone ("To argue with him is useless") or pertaining to bureaucracy: "To argue is useless. To accept inevitable". "Arguing is useless" is fine, but I would say "It is useless to argue"
3) Similar to 1) - the first sounds awkward, though technically okay. The second is fine (perhaps emphasises helping people). I would say "It is my duty to help these people" (which may emphasise that of course I will help them).