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Is the following construction correct? To prove to somebody that

Does it sound natural in my sentence? If not, how would you change it?

Another piece of advice that I want to give you is to prove (demonstrate) to your parents that if you're tired, you aren't productive.

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  • Yes, the construction is correct. It sounds fine in your sentence. However, your sentence is far too wordy. Jan 31, 2022 at 20:42

2 Answers 2

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Is the following construction correct? To prove to somebody that

I'm not sure if it is technically ungrammatical, but it is very awkward and not idiomatic. I think the general rule is that bare pronoun objects (like "it" or "that") have to precede other verb complements. You should say: "to prove that to somebody."

Another piece of advice that I want to give you is to prove (demonstrate) to your parents that if you're tired, you aren't productive.

This sentence is grammatically fine. The object is not "that," but rather the entire clause introduced by "that." In other words, the object is not "that,' but rather the entire phrase "that, if you're tired, you aren't productive." Since this object is complex and phonetically heavy, it must go after "to your parents."

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  • So, if I correctly understood what you wrote, the usual construction for the verb to prove is: to prove that to somebody. As for my sentence, it's correct as it is since "my" that is part of a bigger sentence and not just a bare pronoun object. Is it correct?
    – Simo Ita
    Jan 31, 2022 at 15:54
  • The rule is not specific to the verb "prove," but to all verbs that can take an "indirect object." We generally say: "I told that to him," not "I told to him that." Similarly, "I'll give this to them," not "I'll give to them this." If the direct object is a noun, either order is okay with the addition of the preposition "to." You can say: "I told him the story" or "I told the story to him" or "I'll give them the book" or "I'll give the book to them." If the object is an entire clause, you generally say: "I told him what was needed" or "I'll give them what they needed." Jan 31, 2022 at 16:27
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I am afraid that your question is not clear.

If you are asking about using “that” as a bare pronoun, I agree with gotube. It is far more idiomatic in modern American English to say

Prove that to me

than

Prove to me that

If you are asking, as your example implies, about using “that” to introduce a subordinate clause, then “to me” is far better placed before “that.”

Prove to me that the sum of the angles in a plane triangle equals the sum of two right angles.

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