Is there any difference between these two sentences?

I want the balls destroyed.

I want the balls to be destroyed.

If not which one is preferred?


1 Answer 1


In first sentence, remove the comma, unless you mean that you want someone to bring you the balls in a broken state.

The second insists on the necessity to do it in a near future, usually by someone else (a subordinate, for example).

  • 1
    I don't think whether or not to be is included has anything to do with how soon the speaker wants something done. The format doesn't work so well with all "past participle adjectives" though. I want him dead sounds like a natural enough thing for a gangster to say, but I want him to be dead sounds a bit weird to me. Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 10:37
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers: "I want him to be dead" sounds weird because "dead" is a state and not an action like killed or buried. To emphasize urgency, to be or not to be ?
    – Graffito
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 11:00

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