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Are the following uses of "likely for" okay? If one is okay but the other is not, please explain why:

a. There are some things you can do to make it more likely for you to catch their attention.

b. It is more likely for you to catch their attention if you take these steps.

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  • "Likely for you to" is not very idiomatic. In the opinion of this US English speaker, something more idiomatic would be ...more likely that you will...
    – stangdon
    Nov 15 '21 at 12:18
  • @stangdon "likely for someone to V" is used in dictionary definitions. E.g. "There are things you can do to stack the odds in your favor. [=to make it more likely for you to win, succeed, etc.]" learnersdictionary.com/definition/stack
    – Apollyon
    Nov 16 '21 at 1:23
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The sentences are grammatically correct, but "It is likely for you..." is rather verbose, and is generally only used to express an indirect consequence of an action, for example creating an environment where something might happen.

If you visit a rough area of town, it is likely that you will be mugged. - indirect consequence
If you insult the doorman at a club, you are likely to get a beating. -direct consequence

Your two sentences suggest that, if you take certain steps, the direct consequence is that you are more likely to be noticed. The second sentence is the easiest to suggest a direct consequence:

You are more likely to catch their attention if you take these steps.

For your first sentence, this does suggest some indirection, but I feel that it would read better using that you will rather than for you to. This NGram graph supports my opinion.

There are some things you can do to make it more likely that you will catch their attention.

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  • What do you mean by "passive voice" There's nothing passive in the OP sentenves.
    – Apollyon
    Nov 15 '21 at 6:05
  • You using a dummy subject is, then using the preposition for to attach the real subject. This is similar to passive voice, where you eliminate the subject and attach it as an agent using the preposition by.
    – JavaLatte
    Nov 15 '21 at 6:56
  • "likely for someone to V" is used in dictionary definitions. E.g. "There are things you can do to stack the odds in your favor. [=to make it more likely for you to win, succeed, etc.]" Is this definitionese?
    – Apollyon
    Nov 16 '21 at 1:23
  • "used in dictionary definitions"... I bet this is the only definition that uses it, and the situation is unusual. They are using you to mean anybody, as in the maxim "you can't beat the system". and it would sound strange to say "to make yourself more likely to win" where yourself is suppose to mean anybodyself.
    – JavaLatte
    Nov 16 '21 at 6:33

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