The main purpose of this period of the year, when the company intensifies training for its employees, is (how) to acquire better performance at every level.

My question is: Would the use of how make this sentence incorrect? I find this structure in other languages (with "how"), but when I translate into English, I hesitate to put "how" in for some reason. If it is incorrect, could someone explain why?

The question is not limited to this particular example which may not be the best.

  • 1
    No. The main purpose ... is to learn how to acquire [blah blah]. Or ...is to teach [workers] how to [do stuff]. – FumbleFingers Jan 18 at 18:38
  • Would "The main purpose ... is to acquire" be wrong? – fev Jan 18 at 18:40
  • The basic construction is the purpose is to do something, where the highlighted element can be any infinitve-based clause that makes sense as a "purpose" (something you want to do or to achieve). – FumbleFingers Jan 18 at 18:43
  • "How" is not required. Without it, the infinitival clause is predicative complement of "be", where it’s intended as a subtype of ascriptive Predicative Complement: it ascribes a purpose to the predicand (the subject). If you include "how", the clause becomes an interrogative (embdded question), but that would make no sense here. – BillJ Jan 18 at 18:44

The simplified form of your sentence is as follows:

The purpose is how to acquire X

This means "the purpose" is the way or method to acquire X. A purpose is normally a reason and not a method of doing something, so this sounds strange.

The purpose is to acquire X

This is answering the question "what is the purpose?" - so here we are directly defining the purpose.

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