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    #1

    Cool what you can start doing is

    Hello!

    Which structure is correct in this case, please?

    "What you can start doing is preparing the dinner/ to prepare the dinner."

    Thanks a lot
    Will

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    #2

    Re: what you can start doing is

    I would say

    What you can start doing is prepare the dinner.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: what you can start doing is

    Or "What you can do is start preparing the dinner".

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    #4

    Re: what you can start doing is

    What do you mean by start? It sounds a bit strange to me; would You can start by preparing the dinner work?

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: what you can start doing is

    It depends whether you're referring to the first thing that the person can do, not all of which will be related to dinner, or if you're talking about the first useful thing they can do in order to help with dinner.

    If the former, I would say "You could start/make a start by preparing dinner" - that suggests that after that, you expect the person to perform other tasks.

    If the latter, I would say "You could make a start on dinner by preparing the ingredients" or something similar. That suggests that it's the first thing that needs to be done about dinner and that there will be other dinner-related tasks to come.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 12-Jul-2011 at 16:10. Reason: Typo

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: what you can start doing is

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I would say

    What you can start doing is prepare the dinner.
    I think this is what I'd say too. The opening words 'What you can start doing is' seem to be expecting a complement. But - as so often with spoken grammar - the form changes on the fly (that is, in mid-sentence); and 'prepare the dinner' feels like an imperative that is not subordinate to anything.

    But, as others have suggested, there are several uncontrovesial alternatives.

    b

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    #7

    Re: what you can start doing is

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I think this is what I'd say too. The opening words 'What you can start doing is' seem to be expecting a complement.
    And by complement do you mean "preparing"? It's syntactically justified in my opinion, but it sounds just awful to me. Does it sound OK to you?

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: what you can start doing is

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    And by complement do you mean "preparing"? It's syntactically justified in my opinion, but it sounds just awful to me. Does it sound OK to you?
    It's a little messy but it's not actually wrong.

    - What can I start doing?
    - Hmm, let me see. What you can start doing is preparing the potatoes.

    It wouldn't be my first choice but it's OK.

    - What can I start doing?
    - Preparing the potatoes. That would be really helpful.

    That's neater and avoids having to use "start doing is preparing" which is the part I think we all agree sounds a bit messy.

    - What can I do?
    - You can start preparing the potatoes.

    That's neater but, to be honest, it doesn't mean exactly the same thing.

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: what you can start doing is

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    And by complement do you mean "preparing"? ...
    In effect, yes: but 'preparing for'. I was using some rather uncalled for personiification! 'Seems to be laying the groundwork for...' would have been better.

    b

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