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"Make a plan and every effort"
« on: May 09, 2018, 03:50:36 pm »
Hi everyone! Hoping someone can help me out here.

The correct sentence is:
"Make a plan and make every effort..."

My coteacher asked me about:
"Make a plan and every effort..."

It sounds strange, but is it grammatically incorrect? And can anyone explain why?


Re: "Make a plan and every effort"
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2018, 03:58:05 pm »
Hi everyone! Hoping someone can help me out here.

The correct sentence is:
"Make a plan and make every effort..."

My coteacher asked me about:
"Make a plan and every effort..."

It sounds strange, but is it grammatically incorrect? And can anyone explain why?

redundancy through repetition as in:

I like pizza but (I do) not (like) pineapple


  • SanderB
  • Super Waygook

    • 437

    • June 02, 2018, 06:25:54 pm
    • Burning Oil Be Best
Re: "Make a plan and every effort"
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2018, 03:31:44 pm »
The linguistic term for it is

elision

and as sligo mentioned it is used to prevent repetition.

To explain it to your teacher and if need be put on an annoyed facial expression with proper disdain for her not knowing this and never have her ask you anything again:

The coordinating subclause should have its verb phrase elided since the presumed subject (undefined in your example) is the same as that of the main clause.
Fiat voluntas tua- What you want is allowed


  • akplmn
  • Veteran

    • 113

    • October 19, 2015, 01:52:10 pm
    • South Korea
Re: "Make a plan and every effort"
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2018, 03:44:44 pm »
I generally live by the rule that if it sounds ungrammatical, it is.  So if it sounds wrong to you, I would trust that instinct.

As the posters above pointed out, listing multiple objects with one verb is used to avoid repetition in English, and should usually be grammatical.  But here, "make a plan and every effort" sounds bizarre and ungrammatical, even though it appears to be following that rule.  So why?

My theory as to why this particular phrase is ungrammatical is because of the word "make".  Make has a multitude of different definitions and uses, and you're seeing two different uses of the word here, crammed into one verb slot.

If you say "make a plan", the word make essentially means to create/formulate/fabricate.  (Think "make reservations", "make a dress", "make dinner".  You are literally creating these things.)

On the other hand, in the phrase "make an effort", the word make means to carry out/perform. (Think "make a speech", "make a detour", "make a gesture".  You are not literally creating a speech or a detour in doing this, you are performing them.)

Notice if you create a sentence where the verb has the same meaning, it doesn't sound so strange to list objects.  "Make appetizers, dinner and dessert" "make plans and reservations" "make a shirt and some pants".  But when you try and combine different uses, it doesn't work as well: "Make appetizers and love".

When a verb has multiple meanings, you need to think of those different meanings as essentially different verbs.  And typically if you have different verbs with different objects, you would create separate verbal phrases for them.  So for instance, if you sewed a dress and then ate dinner, you wouldn't say "I sewed and ate a dress and dinner", you would separate the phrases and say "I sewed a dress, and ate dinner".

Same thing here.  The way "make" functions with "plan", and the way "make" functions with "every effort" is different.  So even though it's the same word, you need to repeat it as if it were a different one, because the meaning is distinct.

Compare the same phenomenon with other verbs that have multiple meanings:

Strange sentence: "I ran a lap and the hotel" (different meanings)
Compare with: "I ran the casino and the hotel" (same meaning), AND "I ran a lap, and ran the hotel" (separate phrases)

Strange sentence: "I took my blood pressure and the kids to school." (different meanings)
Compare with: "I took the kids and the dog to school" (same meaning) and "I took my blood pressure, and took the kids to school" (separate phrases).

I do think there are probably times when you can use this kind of phrasing, if you're playing with words to be clever/funny/poetic (Ex: Diesel's ad campaign "Make love, not walls", which is a play on the more grammatically accurate "Make love, not war").  But as a rule, I think it's going to be ungrammatical.

So in your example, "make a plan and every effort", you're trying to use one verb in two different ways, and it sounds off.  If you repeat the verb "I made a plan, and I made every effort to see it through", it works fine, because you've separated the two different concepts into different phrases.

Just my best theory on it.