The hope is that the sheer expense to make producers pay for the disposal of their computer equipment wherever it is sold or being used across the world, will spur the industry towards making "greener" machines.

Well, my textbook says that the phrase "to make" should be replaced by "of making" and "being" should be added before the word "sold". Can anyone provide an explanation?

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    There are not many nouns that can license (or allow) a to-infinitive as its (post-)modifier. Among these are order, way, ability, time, attempt, right, power, desire, reason. For most other nouns, you'll need to use of VERB-ing instead (e.g. expense of making ...). Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


You're right about the first point. Ordinarily expense take of phrases as complement, not infinitives.

You're wrong about the second point. There's no reason to cast this in the progressive, and a good reason not to: putting it in the progressive would imply that producers would be responsible for disposal only in places where their equipment is currently sold or used.

And you missed the real howler. The cost of making producers pay is not a cost to the producers, but a cost to the authority imposing the obligation, the cost of enforcing whatever laws are put in place, and consequently doesn't act as an incentive to producers—quite the contrary. What the author presumably means is something like:

The hope is that the sheer cost to producers of having to pay for the disposal . . .

There's also an awkwardness in using expense here, in the sense "expensiveness"; in contexts suggesting balance-sheet calculations expense means something a bit different from cost.

It's very careless writing.

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