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Which of the following sentences is grammatically correct? Are both OK?

  1. The butler relayed to them Eugene’s instruction to use as little seasoning as possible.
  2. The butler relayed to them Eugene’s instruction that they should use as little seasoning as possible.
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    You should expound a little more upon why you think one might be wrong, and then genericize the question so that it asks about a meaning of the word to. As it stands now, they both sound okay to me – although I'd probably remove the "to them" part. Since they both sound alright, though, there's not really much of a question left to answer.
    – J.R.
    May 19, 2013 at 11:35
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    S1 is an order, but S2 is a recommendation (at least, that's how it's phrased). Both are grammatically correct. Both are standard English, verbosity & all.
    – user264
    May 19, 2013 at 13:43
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    @BillFranke, I would still interpret #2 as an order.
    – Daniel
    May 20, 2013 at 16:18

1 Answer 1

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Both are correct grammatically. You could remove the "to them" part since it's really not required in the sentence, but it's still correct nonetheless. Normally at least, the "to them" or the "from the office" etc is added to the sentence after the "relayed XYZ's instruction" bit.

The sentences ideally would become :

  1. The butler relayed to them Eugene’s instruction to use as little seasoning as possible.
  2. The butler relayed to them Eugene’s instruction that they should use as little seasoning as possible.

As pointed out by Bill Franke, the first is an order, and the second is a recommendation.

Other that that, depending on the context, both sentences are correct.

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  • I'd suggest putting "to them" immediately after "relayed" in sentence 1, as well, because I don't like separating "instruction" and "to use" (although both phrasings are grammatical). Here, moving the "to them" next to the verb is permissible, because the other part is so long. People probably wouldn't say "The butler relayed to them Eugene's instruction." if the sentence stopped there. May 22, 2013 at 13:39
  • I hope my previous comment isn't taken as a criticism of your answer. All I really wanted to convey is that different people have different "ideal" versions of that sentence. May 22, 2013 at 13:53
  • No, I actually think you're right about that. When you say it out, it sounds a bit off in the current formation. I'm going to make the change :)
    – SashaZd
    May 23, 2013 at 18:41

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