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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
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      • Taiwan
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      • Taiwan

    • Join Date: May 2011
    • Posts: 301
    #1

    Something is able to ...OR must be able to...?

    Can we use "something" instead of "someone" as the subject of the modal verb "be able to ..."? For example, are the following sentences correct?

    1. The ship is able to face the heavy seas.
    2. The remark is able to be misunderstood.
    3. All carry-on items must be able to fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.

    Thank you a lot for your kind help.
    Last edited by maoyueh; 12-Aug-2011 at 11:47. Reason: wrong phrase

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Dutch
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      • Europe
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    #2

    Re: Something is able to ...OR must be able to...?

    "be able to" is not a phrasal verb; it is a modal idiom.

    Can we use "something" instead of "someone" as the subject
    We surely can.

    2. The remark is able to be misunderstood.
    This sentence is not idiomatic, is constrained, if (=although) structurally possible.

    Try:
    The remark is ambiguous/ is phrased equivocally.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Taiwan
      • Current Location:
      • Taiwan

    • Join Date: May 2011
    • Posts: 301
    #3

    Re: Something is able to ...OR must be able to...?

    Hi Afit,

    Thanks a lot for your helpful opinions.

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