1

Which sentences are grammatically correct? Can we rewrite these sentences better?

  1. The biggest fear people have is (that) not being approved (of).

  2. The biggest fear people have is (that) not to be approved (of).


  1. Elderly people have a desire to feel needed.

  2. Elderly people have a desire to feel to be needed.

  3. Elderly people have a desire to be needed.

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, ColleenV, StoneyB, user6951, user3169 Mar 26 '15 at 19:57

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1

The following versions sound correct to my (American) ear:

1a. The biggest fear people have is not being approved [for a credit card].

1b. The biggest fear people have is not being approved of.

3 . Elderly people have a desire to feel needed.

5 . Elderly people have a desire to be needed.

The following versions sound more natural to me:

1e. The biggest fear people have is that they will not be approved [for a credit card].

1f. The biggest fear people have is that they won't measure up [to society's standards].

3b. Elderly people want to feel needed.

5b. Elderly people want to be needed.

Notice that there is a difference in meaning between "approved" and "approved of". "Approved" implies "approved for <something>" like membership in a group, or permission to do something (like borrow money on a credit card). "Approved of" means "appreciated", "valued", or "loved".

Many people fear not being approved for a loan (such as a credit card), but it would be very strange for a person's biggest fear to be "not being approved for a credit card". I can imagine a sit-com (like Seinfeld) showing a neurotic character whose biggest fear is "not being approved for a credit card".

A common phrase in English is "fear of <plural noun>" or "fear of <gerund>". For example, "A person with acrophobia has a fear of heights", "She is afraid of cats", and "fear of flying".

  • Thank you. Do you know the rule that why we cannot say the second sentence? – Mrt Mar 26 '15 at 16:35

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