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Re: Bug#795158: explain spelling-error-in-description for 'allow to'

On 2015-08-11 09:56, chrysn wrote:
> Package: lintian
> Version: 2.5.34
> Severity: minor


Thanks for reporting this bug.

I am CC'ing debian-l10n-english for a bit of assistance.  I got two
"@English" for you. :)

> The spelling-error-in-description correction "Allow to" -> "Allow one
> to" is hard to understand without further explanation.

@English: Do you have a suggestion for how we explain this simpler than
the below?  I suspect the long (sentence theoretical) explanation is not
going to help the average reader.

My understanding of it is: Allow (when used with "to") is always a
"transitive verb".  That is, it must "apply" to an "object".
Consider the following sentence:

  I allow my dog to go outside.

Here "allow" is a "transitive" verb, which is applied to "my dog", which
is the "object" (sentence structure wise).  What the correction is
complaining about is that it sees an instance of:

 I allow to go outside.

This sentence is "invalid" and is missing something.  It could have been
a "passive voice" missing a verb and in wrong tense (e.g. "I am allowed
to go outside") or it could be missing an "object" (a la the previous
example above).

Note: In the suggested correction, lintian always uses "one" as the
"object".  I am not sure if a place-holder might have been better.  E.g.

  "allow to -> allow <missing-word> to"

> With openscad, it reports the "Allow to open multiple files" menu line.

Which, to my understanding, grammatically does not make a lot of sense.
 If it is a menu line, it might make sense to word it slightly
different.  An example could be:

  "Open multiple files"

Menu lines tend to "imperative" anyway ("orders" to the computer).

> I've checked with several native speakers and a dictionary, and nothing
> gives me an indication on 'allow to' being wrong; at best, people have
> suggested "Allow opening multiple files", but on a "either would work"
> basis.

I am not sure there is a general consensus that "either would work" here.

 * @English, what is your take on this?

> The report overview shows that the 'allow' case makes up roughly half of
> the spelling-error-in-description cases.
> Could you clarify on this?
> Thanks
> chrysn

Presumably, people are not in a hurry to fix spelling mistakes or/and
(like you) were unsure on how to fix the particular spelling mistake.


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