2

My original statement was

The data that can be easily gathered from mobile devices open new research opportunities which could not be possible to be developed with existing built-in systems.

A native speaker corrected this to

The data that can be easily gathered from mobile devices can open new research opportunities which would not have been possible develop with existing built-in systems.

What is wrong with my original sentence? Why isn't it developed but develop? Isn't it a passive sentence?

  • 2
    Note that possible takes an infinitive, so it should be "...would not have been possible to develop..." – apsillers Jul 14 '15 at 17:57
  • 6
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because as @apsillers observes the word to has been omitted -- probably a typo, but certainly an error. – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 14 '15 at 18:22
  • I don't understand why it is off-topic, I am trying to learn whether there is an exception for verb develop. – cagdas Jul 14 '15 at 21:27
  • It's not clear exactly what you're asking. Are you asking whether the typo pointed out by apsillers, and used as the close reason by StoneyB, myself, and three others, is in fact an error? Are you asking about changing "developed" to "develop" in the original without changing any other words? Are you asking about the original sentence being passive, or perhaps the modified (ungrammatical) one? Or something else entirely? I don't know, and that means the question isn't answerable without magically-correct guesses. – Nathan Tuggy Jul 14 '15 at 21:49
  • I'm try to understand why it isn't "possible to be developed" but "possible (to) develop" – cagdas Jul 14 '15 at 21:55
1

Short answer:

The correct form of the sentence is the second one because. . .because you can't passivize intransitive verbs!

Long(er) answer:

Let's take a look at Dictionary.Reference:

Develop: verb (used with object) 1

  1. To cause to grow or expand.
    (emphasis mine)

But is this the meaning the sentence is trying to convey?

The data that can be easily gathered from mobile devices can open new research opportunities which would not have been possible to develop with existing built-in systems.

As you might have noticed, here develop isn't to cause to grow, but is supposed to mean

Develop: verb (used without object) 2

  1. To grow into a more mature or advanced state; advance; expand: She is developing into a good reporter.
  2. To come gradually into existence or operation; be evolved. - Dictionary.Reference (emphasis mine again)

So, the meaning you were trying to convey in this sentence was the intransitive develop; which can't be passivized due to obvious reasons. Thus, the sentence must use the active voice.


That being said, you also have another option here: Delete "to develop" altogether! The remaining sentence makes perfect sense and looks a bit simpler:

The data that can be easily gathered from mobile devices can open new research opportunities which would not have been possible with existing built-in systems.


1: A.K.A transitive
2: A.K.A intransitive

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