Re: grammar advice: infinitive in US English

Subject: Re: grammar advice: infinitive in US English
From: Doc <dlettvin -at- attbi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2002 09:39:31 -0400

On Wed, 10 Jul 2002 11:19:03 +0100, "Elizabeth OShea"
<Elizabeth -dot- OShea -at- emergesmart -dot- com> hit one of my hot buttons by asking:

>My question is about the following sentence and whether or not it's correct
>in US English:
>'To enable people subscribe to your company's mailing list...'
>Or, should it read 'To enable people to subscribe...'

I suspect that you are going to tell the user how to grant permission.

The second is closest, but if I were editing, I would immediately
change it to:

"To let people subscribe to your company mailing list ..."

Because you haven't provided the context (and because my brain is
severely overclocked after four espressos), I'm going to extrapolate a

There are two ways to interpret the information you sent. Either the
user is going to grant permission for people to add themselves to the
mailing list, or the user is going to add people to the mailing list.

People will not subscribe to the mailing list itself, they will
subscribe to that which is sent to the members of the mailing list.

If the user will grant permission, then I suggest:

"To let people join (or add themselves) to your company mailing list

If the user will add the names, then I suggest:

"To add people (or subscribers) to your mailing list ..."
David W Lettvin
South Hamilton, MA

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