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If I want to say that we need to listen to and consider certain ideas/views/approaches etc. to a greater extent than we're currently doing, can I use "give X more room" for this, or can that only be used about concrete things? That is, would the following sentence be idiomatic in English:

We need to give these ideas/these views/this approach more room.

If this is not the idiomatic way of saying it, what could I use instead? More room for manoeuvre? More space? More leeway? More elbowroom...?

2 Answers 2

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You're saying you wish give more emphasis to the ideas, or place a greater focus on them, if I'm understanding you correctly.

The struggle you're having stems from the fact that, while "giving them more room" is absolutely an accepted idiom in English, it tends to mean something closer to giving them more time to settle in with the listener. It's why we say things like "give him space" or "I need more elbow room." In actuality, both expressions are typically referring to either giving someone more time in which to consider, or LESS pressure within which to work.

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  • What a great explanation! I think I totally get it now! Thank you!
    – Gerda
    Mar 9, 2023 at 20:57
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    Happy to help! <3
    – NerdyDeeds
    Mar 13, 2023 at 18:54
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Yes, you can say "we need to give these ideas more room", but I think that it means something different from what you want it to say. If the ideas were somehow being encroached upon, for example, then you could say that they needed more room. If you want to say that you need to consider them, then I'd simply say "we need to give these ideas more consideration".

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  • Thank you! I mean that we don't only need to consider the ideas, but we need to consider them to a much greater extent than we're currently doing. That is, at the moment they get far too little attention, and we need to recognise that they are important and worthy of our attention, so would you say I can use "give room" then?
    – Gerda
    Mar 8, 2023 at 21:41
  • Or perhaps "give more influence" would be better?
    – Gerda
    Mar 8, 2023 at 21:43
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    @Gerda No, those still wouldn't be natural ways of expressing that idea. It would be much more common to say "we need to give these ideas much more consideration", "we need to give these ideas a lot more consideration", etc. Mar 9, 2023 at 3:05
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    If you insisted on using the word "influence", you could say something like "we need to allow these ideas to have much greater influence upon our thinking", but that is a very wordy and roundabout way of saying it. Mar 9, 2023 at 3:11

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