Missing 'us' in "The knowledge enables to determine..."



I have seen in at least two academic contexts sentences such as

The knowledge enables to determine...

I would instead write

The knowledge enables us to determine...

Since English is, in all of these cases, a non-native language for the writer, I am not sure if the word 'us' belongs in this type of sentences.

Is it correct to add the word 'us'? Is it correct to omit it?


Posted 2017-09-07T07:45:44.733

Reputation: 183

1In Russian we also omit us and this carries over into English (or Runglish rather) as "The new method allows to increase the total capacity of the plant by 20%". – CowperKettle – 2017-09-07T08:33:58.137

enable and allow and let and prevent and forbid require a nominal complement and cannot take an infinitive complement alone. Simple rewrite: "With this knowledge we can determine...". The modal can is your friend. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2017-09-07T09:18:03.557

There is a variant without "us" : The knowledge enables determination of ... - this works because we turn the verb "to determine" into the noun "determination". (The same applies to allow,let,prevent and forbid). – MSalters – 2017-09-07T11:37:16.190

4Writing things like "... enables to determine..." is a common mistake among non-native speakers. It often comes up in academic writing, since a large amount of academic communication is in English. – David Richerby – 2017-09-07T12:14:54.367

If you want to avoid the use of "us" (which reduces the generality of the statement), you can also write "The knowledge enables xxx to be determined." – Hutch – 2017-09-07T16:38:22.193



You are absolutely right! You include 'us.'

It is called a verb pattern.

'Enable' is a verb that requires the pattern of noun + to infinitive.

The knowledge enables us to determine...

A very good reference (including the verb in question) is on the British Council website.

Maulik V

Posted 2017-09-07T07:45:44.733

Reputation: 66 188