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Do the sentences below sound normal to native speakers?

  1. To stop him now is important.
    Stopping him now is important.
  2. To argue is useless.
    Arguing is useless.
  3. 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).

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