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    #1

    Is verb "enable" similar to verbs like "allow", "permit", "advise", "forbid"

    Hello everybody!

    The new tension member was welded on in order to enable the opening of the shaft.

    The above-mentioned sentence could as well be written as "The new tension member was welded on in order to enable opening the shaft" or "The new tension member was welded on in order to enable the shaft to be opened".

    To sum up, taking the above-mentioned sentence into account, we have three possibilities of expressing the same thought:

    1.The new tension member was welded on in order to enable the opening of the shaft (not under discussion).
    2.The new tension member was welded on in order to enable opening the shaft (-ing form because the object does not exist; otherwise the sentence could read, for instance, "The new tension member was welded on in order to enable you to open the shaft"; as it is, without the object, the verb 'enable' is similar to verbs such as "allow", "permit", "advise", "forbid" (do you confirm?); in my opinion, the verb 'enable' with the object is similar to verbs such as "allow", "permit", "advise", "forbid" when the sentence reads as follows "The new tension member was welded on in order to enable you to open the shaft".
    3."The new tension member was welded on in order to enable the shaft to be opened" (not under discussion).

    What do you think of my deliberation? Do you agree?

    Thank you.

    By the shaft, I mean the ventilating shaft.

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    #2

    Re: Is verb "enable" similar to verbs like "allow", "permit", "advise", "forbid"

    My first thought is that the verb enable means make able. I identify the verb pattern as:


    • to enable somebody to do something (= to make somebody able to do something)


    or similarly, as in your example:


    • to enable something to happen (= to make something able to happen)


    Therefore, I don't think that sentence 1. works because it would be read as '...to make the opening of the shaft able', which doesn't make sense. Sentence 3., however, fits the pattern fine.

    The question of sentence 2. depends on whether you think the set of verbs you mention can be used simply with an object, and without following with a to-infinitive, as in:


    • to enable something



    to which I'd say no. Or:


    • to allow something
    • to permit something
    • to forbid something
    • to advise something


    to which I'd say yes. If you think yes to all of them, then sentence 2. is fine. If you agree with me, then enable opening the shaft is not permissible. Of course enable you to open the shaft is fine.

    I feel that the to-infinitive is a necessary part of the use of the verb enable (or rather, the adjective able).


    Confusingly, the verb pattern:


    • to disable something


    is fine, and shouldn't be followed with a to-infinitive.

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