## Is "... to bring to your attention ..." a typo?

11

I'm writing to bring to your attention the unprofessional attitude of one of your staff member. (From a book and some online resources)

I feel like it should be:

I'm writing to bring your attention to the unprofessional attitude of one of your staff member.

Is it a typo or not? Thank you!

A similar question (about why the 'to' part comes first; bring what to someone vs. bring someone to what can be found in dictionaries): There would be additional steps in between the initial measures and the final step, including, among other things, addressing the UN Security Council resolutions, with a view toward bringing to a satisfactory conclusion the UN Security Councilˈs consideration of this matter. -- Look for "heavy NP shift" in my explanation.

– Damkerng T. – 2016-04-01T09:15:35.360

"If the mountain won't come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain." - bring your attention to literally means I pick up your attention and carry it around, while bring to your attention means I pick the item and carry it around. Both is possible. – Alexander – 2016-04-01T12:14:22.100

An actual typo is that "staff member" should be "staff members". – Karen – 2016-04-01T18:03:45.007

7

The image is that you are carrying something which needs attention and putting it in front of the listener. So you bring the thing to the listener - or to the listener's attention. In this image, you don't bring the attention to the thing.

The sentence is a bit more difficult to understand because the long noun phrase the unprofessional attitude of one of your staff members has moved from the normal Direct Object position. Because it is very long, the speaker has moved it to the end of the sentence (this is known as heavy noun phrase shift).

If we put the phrases in the normal order, the sentence looks like this:

• I'm writing to bring [the unprofessional attitude of one of your staff members] to your attention.

This last clause has the same structure as:

• ... bring a friend to the party.

1Interestingly, in other languages the image may be different. For example, in German one would possibly try to guide/direct the listener's attention to the thing ... – Hagen von Eitzen – 2016-04-01T14:21:09.797

2@HagenvonEitzen We have another saying in English a bit like that too: to draw someone's attention to something. – Araucaria - Not here any more. – 2016-04-01T15:01:38.900

4

Perhaps the best way to analyze this is to determine what is being "brought." In this case unprofessionalism is being brought to someone's attention. However, you can't bring someone's attention to anything. So the better choice would be "I would like to bring to your attention the unprofessional..."

Also, it should be the plural "staff members" not the singular.

3

Bring someone or something to someone's attention means to make someone aware of someone or something as in

Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

I am grateful for your bringing her to my attention.

2

I am writing to bring to your attention the unprofessional attitude of one of your staff members.

It's not a typo; the sentence is correct grammatically.

However, your sentence "I am writing to bring your attention to ...." is not correct grammatically. You can bring something to someone's attention, but you cannot bring someone's attention to something.

However, you can call/draw someone's attention to something. So you can say:

"I am writing to draw/call your attention to the unprofessional attitude of ...........".

For this phrase, do we need/ is it wrong to use a preposition? I saw someone wrote like this: I am writing to bring to your attention [on] the service of your international flights. (Sorry, there is no source provided, it is from the material I have on hand.) – EmmaXL – 2016-10-06T08:02:47.083

1

No, this is not a typo. In fact, this is a very widely used idiom. 'To point out something to someone' simply means:

to make someone aware of something; to mention or show something to someone