Another phrase-usage question, can you say :

These issues pave the way for new opportunities in several markets.

and does it sound sexy or weird ?

  • Sexy? In my lexicon, that's a total non-sequitur in this context. Perhaps you mean something different by "sexy" than I do? Like "cool" or "hip"?
    – Martha
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 15:21
  • 1
    yes, sorry. In french we say "sexy", it is also a non-sequitur - is it symbolic violence ? - but it is "sexy" and sometimes poetic to associate an adjective to a noun that does not fit together ^_^
    – hpid91
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 15:26
  • 2
    I don't really see how issues (which in such contexts normally means problems) can "pave the way/smooth the path" to anything. So I'm guessing you mean the solving of these issues. Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 17:40

2 Answers 2


Your trepidation is warranted in this case.

The reason this doesn't work perfectly is that the idiom “pave the way” is defined as:

to be a preparation which will make it possible for something to happen in the future

“Be a preparation” is a strange phrase, but it is a crucial distinction here. It wouldn't be the issues themselves that would facilitate new opportunities. There would need to be someone solving the issues, and this person (or policy, or even the solutions) would be said to be paving the way.

Additionally, on the other side of the phrase, “new opportunities” presents another problem, albeit a lesser one. The fact that the opportunities are new makes it difficult to imagine the way to them having been paved by anything previous.

Nonetheless, the whole sentence could still be understood to mean

(Solutions to) these issues pave the way for (the creation of) new opportunities in several markets.

so it works more or less, and would probably be understood, but might not be as “sexy” as you'd hoped.

  • I think you've pretty much covered the issues here, paving the way for OP to write more "naturally" (and hopefully less "sexily", since that's probably not appropriate to his context! :) Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 17:46
  • Thanks! I think “sexy” just means “poetic” in this instance (esp. based on OP's follow-up comment). As in “is this within the bounds of poetic license and appreciably evocative in its novelty (or is it just anguished English)?” Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 17:56
  • @ Tyler: Yes, that's what I assume OP means (or perhaps something more akin to snappy, snazzy, jazzy, etc.). But I'm guessing the context is some kind of business-oriented sales pitch or similar, where you'd probably want to sound sober/reliable rather than sexy/flighty. Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 18:05

That is a pretty normal English sentence. The idiom "pave the way" refers to paving a road and means, "to make it possible or easier for someone or something to follow."

It sounds very businesslike and professional and has no unusual or sexual connotations.

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    Sorry, I'm with @FumbleFingers on this one. I don't see how issues could pave the way for anything. I wouldn't recommend the OP use this sentence, and without further context I'm not sure how we can advise.
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 17:41
  • Man, you haven't been around salesmen. Didn't you know that "problems" are simply "opportunities?" :-)
    – Dane
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 18:02
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    I think issues could fit. It depends on the context, but unfortunately we don't know what that context is.
    – user230
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 18:34
  • Right. I wrote my answer assuming that @hpid91 was accurately conveying the correct meaning. The full context would help a ton.
    – Dane
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 19:50

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