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  1. Member
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    #1

    They aren't being able to.

    "The government is trying to stop corruption but THEY AREN'T BEING ABLE TO"

    Is 'They aren't being able to' good English? If not, how else could I express the same idea?

  2. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: They aren't being able to.

    No. Try:
    The government is trying to stop corruption, but it's not able to.
    or
    The government is trying to stop corruption, but it's not having much success.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: They aren't being able to.

    "The government" can take both singular and plural verbs. There are differences between variants of English. So both of these are possible:

    The government are trying to stop corruption but they are not able to.
    The government is trying to stop corruption but it is not able to.

    It would be more natural to end with "they/it can't".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  4. Senior Member
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    #4

    Re: They aren't being able to.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    "The government" can take both singular and plural verbs. There are differences between variants of English. So both of these are possible:

    The government are trying to stop corruption but they are not able to.
    The government is trying to stop corruption but it is not able to.

    It would be more natural to end with "they/it can't".
    I've been around for a long time, but I've never seen/heard "government " used with a plural verb in AmE. Any authoritative examples?

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: They aren't being able to.

    I've no idea if it's used in AmE. However, in BrE you'll certainly hear people say "I hate this government. They're a shower of lying, self-serving [expletive deleted]!" It occurs when we consider the government as a group of individual people rather than as a singular body.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. Moderator
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    #6

    Re: They aren't being able to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yankee View Post
    I've been around for a long time, but I've never seen/heard "government " used with a plural verb in AmE. Any authoritative examples?
    "Government" always takes a singular verb in American English.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #7

    Re: They aren't being able to.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    ... in BrE you'll certainly hear people say "I hate this government. They're a shower of lying, self-serving [expletive deleted]!"
    In the interests of political balance, you'll hear other people say 'What a wonderful government we have! They're all principled, honest patriots who have the best interests of this great country at heart'.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 28-Jan-2020 at 19:24.

  8. Member
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    #8

    Re: They aren't being able to.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    "Government" always takes a singular verb in American English.
    So in AmE is it possible to say- "The government is trying to stop corruption but it's not able to"
    And does "it's not being able to" sound wrong?
    Last edited by Ashraful Haque; 29-Jan-2020 at 08:28.

  9. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: They aren't being able to.

    "it's not being able to" doesn't just sound wrong - it IS wrong. The word "being" doesn't belong there. If you don't want to use "can't", you can use "it's not able to".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  10. teechar's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: They aren't being able to.

    I agree that in the above context, you wouldn't use "it's not being able", but note that the collocation itself is possible in English.

    A: So how has your life changed since you moved to Australia?
    B: It's not being able to see snow at Christmas that I miss the most.

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