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bearsky23
June 11th, 2008, 10:43
What do you guys think?

KateW
June 11th, 2008, 11:26
Shouldn't it be: "The best way to learn a language IS TO MAKE a continuous effort"?

Marrissey
June 11th, 2008, 11:30
Or:

"The best way to learn a language is by making a continuous effort."

bearsky23
June 11th, 2008, 12:28
I argued with my JTE all during class that you ABSOLUTELY HAVE to have "by" if you're going to say "making." He said you absolutely DID NOT have to have 'by.' So I wanted to see what you guys think. Of course, "to make" is also ok.

enrique_suave
June 11th, 2008, 12:40
Tricky business. I'm fairly certain that both the gerund and the full infinitive are functionally fine, but that the use of the gerund ("making" as opposed to "to make" or "by making") is the truly "correct" way. Not sure about "by making", though. Switch the sentence around and it becomes clearer:

"The best way to learn English is making a continuous effort." -> "Making a continuous effort is the best way to learn English."

"The best way to learn English is to make a continuous effort." ->
"To make a continuous effort is the best way to learn English."

"The best way to learn English is by making a continuous effort." -> "By making a continuous effort is the best way to learn English."

See? To make the concept of making a continuous effort into a noun phrase, allowing it to be the object of the verb "to be" (or the subject, in the bizarro backwards sentences that I made), the most proper form is the gerund.

bearsky23
June 11th, 2008, 13:16
Hmmm, I see your point with that. The only thing is, it sounds completely unnatural to me without the "by." But hey, if it's wrong it's wrong. Thanks for your input!!

Marrissey
June 11th, 2008, 13:17
"The best way to learn English is by making a continuous effort." -> "By making a continuous effort is the best way to learn English."

See? To make the concept of making a continuous effort into a noun phrase, allowing it to be the object of the verb "to be" (or the subject, in the bizarro backwards sentences that I made), the most proper form is the gerund.

I see what you mean, and that's syntactically correct but the gerund alone doesn't sound like natural English. The "by" becomes redundant when it's at the start of the sentence. I would never, ever encourage someone to use the sentence in the poll and I would correct students who did.

enrique_suave
June 11th, 2008, 13:34
"The best way to learn English is by making a continuous effort." -> "By making a continuous effort is the best way to learn English."

See? To make the concept of making a continuous effort into a noun phrase, allowing it to be the object of the verb "to be" (or the subject, in the bizarro backwards sentences that I made), the most proper form is the gerund.

I see what you mean, and that's syntactically correct but the gerund alone doesn't sound like natural English. The "by" becomes redundant when it's at the start of the sentence. I would never, ever encourage someone to use the sentence in the poll and I would correct students who did.

That's fine, of course, I'll never argue that there's a wide gap between spoken English and grammatical English. :) Do what you gotta do!