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  1. Bennevis's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • Russian
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      • Russian Federation
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    #1

    "allows to do something" vs "allows someone to do something"

    I always believed that the verb "allow" requires a direct object after itself, but someone alerted me to the fact that there are usages of this verb with no direct object following it. If you type

    "allows to determine" site:uk

    in your Google search box, you'll get a few thousand results.

    Is it OK to use this verb without a direct object in some cases?

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "allows to do something" vs "allows someone to do something"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    If you type "allows to determine" site:uk in your Google search box, you'll get a few thousand results.

    Is it OK to use this verb without a direct object in some cases?
    Not for most native speakers. As we often say in this forum, google hits prove nothing aboutthe acceptability of anything.

    COCA and BNC give just one example each of 'allows to determine'.

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    #3

    Re: "allows to do something" vs "allows someone to do something"

    not a teacher

    Although you did search for UK sites only, I believe that this usage often comes from speakers of foreign languages (or influenced by foreign languages) and is one those that were taken from the usage of the respective meaning/translation of the verb in the other language. It might have occured that this meaning now influences the usage of the English verb.
    From my own experience I can tell you that allow or serve are often used wrongly* in texts describing computer software contexts translated (by Germans) from German into English.

    *: grammaticaly

    I hope the above text is clear.

    P.S.: What is this phenomenon called again? I forgot the linguistic term.
    Last edited by Michael84; 01-Sep-2011 at 10:24. Reason: typo, P.S.

  3. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: "allows to do something" vs "allows someone to do something"

    The thing is that "allows to determine" is mostly found on websites that deal with technical English. I've visited British, American, Australian and NZ sites. The impression I'm having is that almost all these materials are prepared by native speakers. It makes me think maybe we are allowed to omit the direct object in technical English. In Russian both are possible. I could cite a handful of sources omitting the direct object in this English collocation.

    "allows to determine" site:au
    "allows to determine" site:nz
    "allows to determine" site:us

    See for yourself. But what matters to me the most is how native speakers feel about it.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "allows to do something" vs "allows someone to do something"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    But what matters to me the most is how native speakers feel about it.
    I have told you how one native speaker feels. Two leading corpora have only one citation each for it. What more do you want?

    As far as natural, normal English is concerned, we do not omit the direct object.

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