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I want to convey the meaning that English is widespread to the extent that people should not disregard learning it (as a suggestion) or it is not reasonable to disregard leaning it.

1.a) Usage of English is so widespread that non-English speakers be dismissive if learning it, even if they do not want to live in an English-speaking country.

2.a) Usage of English is so widespread that non-English speakers want to be dismissive of learning it, even if they do not want to live in an English-speaking country.

3.a) Usage of English is so widespread that non-English speakers can be dismissive of learning it, even if they do not want to live in an English-speaking country.

4.a) Usage of English is so widespread that non-English speakers are dismissive of learning it, even if they do not want to live in an English-speaking country.

Which of these above sentences are correct?

Moreover, which one is more appropriate and preferable?

I also have doubt about the usage of an affirmative "that"-clause (actually in my mother language we sometimes use affirmative in this case, although it implies a negative meaning). Is the usage of an affirmative "that"-clause correct here? Shouldn't I use a negative "that"-clause like these?

1.n) Usage of English is so widespread that non-English speakers should not be dismissive of learning it, even if they do not want to live in an English-speaking country.

2.n) Usage of English is so widespread that non-English speakers are not dismissive of learning it, even if they do not want to live in an English-speaking country.

3.n) Usage of English is so widespread that non-English speakers can not be dismissive of learning it, even if they do not want to live in an English-speaking country.

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    You're asking several questions at once here, and I don't mean your different examples, which are great. You're asking (1) what the correct form of "be" is in that structure, AND you're asking (2) whether, given the semantics of your frame sentence, you should use a negative clause. These two questions are unrelated.
    – gotube
    Sep 23, 2022 at 19:39
  • Which of them? None of them are really correct. They seem to be general statements of observation, not instruction, so 'should' isn't relevant. I would go for (3) except that it is ambiguous. "Can be" might allow there is some kind of permission involved. Sep 23, 2022 at 20:02
  • @WeatherVane Can't we use "should" for giving suggestions?
    – alireza
    Sep 24, 2022 at 4:50

1 Answer 1

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1a is not grammatical. 2a, 3a, and 4a are grammatical although they do not make much sense. What would politicians do if nonsense was necessarily ungrammatical?

1n, 2n, and 3n are also grammatical.

It is perfectly grammatical to have an affirmative clause in such a sentence, e.g.

Usage of English is so widespread that people want to learn it even if they do not plan to live in an English-speaking country.

EDIT From a comment by the original poster, it appears that what is really in question is how to convey a particular thought, namely

Usage of English is so widespread that non-English speakers should seriously consider learning it even if they do not want to live in an English-speaking country.

So, 1a is not grammatical. 2a, 3a, 4a, 2n, and 3n are grammatical, but do not express the intended thought. 1n does express the intended thought, but in an awkward and verbose way. “Should not be dismissive” is approximately equivalent to “should consider” but does not imply “should seriously consider,” which is what I suspect to be the actual thought intended.

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  • About your suggested sentence: Maybe someone don't want to learn English because of lack of time or lack of determination, but they still (should) consider learning it as a quite necessary task. I want to convey the meaning that English is widespread to the extent that people should not disregard learning it (as a suggestion) or it is not reasonable to disregard leaning it. What about1.n, 2.n and 3.n? Do all of them convey this meaning?
    – alireza
    Sep 24, 2022 at 4:48
  • @alireza Well, the questions you asked are different from what you are asking in your comment. My example was merely designed to answer the original question of whether affirmative clauses are possible in the type of construction given in the title. See edit of my answer. Sep 24, 2022 at 13:41
  • I am interested to know what meanings do 2.n and 3.n convey and how they differ from 1.n in conveying meaning. Could you please explain about them?
    – alireza
    Sep 24, 2022 at 14:37
  • “Should” conveys obligation; in this context, it conveys the obligation imposed by practical wisdom. “Are” conveys mere fact with no sense of obligation, desire, or capability. “Can” conveys capability with no sense of obligation or desire. You need to study modal verbs, a subtle aspect of English grammar. Sep 24, 2022 at 15:50

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