Hi!  Could I ask a question about this sentence from Oxford Dictionary of English?

"US assets will need to get cheap enough or offer high enough yields to keep foreigners willing holders and accumulators of US assets."

 

I was wondering what the structure of the sequence "need to get cheap enough or offer high enough yields" would be like.  It seems to me that the sentence can be paraphrased like this:

 

(1) US assets will need to get cheap enough yields or offer high enough yields to keep ...

 

That is, in the original sentence, the "yields" is omitted right after "to get cheap enough."  I would like to know whether that is correct.  If I am wrong, I would like to know how to understand this sentence structurally.

 

Thank you so much!

 

Original Post

Hi, Yasukotta,

US assets will need to get cheap enough or offer high enough yields to keep foreigners willing holders and accumulators of US assets.

The subject "US assets" has two verb phrases (what we call a "compound predicate"): will need to get and (will need to) offer.

"cheap enough" is a subject complement connected with the inchoative "get," while "high enough yields" is a direct object connected with the transitive "offer."

We don't speak of "yields" as being cheap or expensive, but high or low. That's why "cheap enough" refers directly to the subject, and not to the noun phrase that comes after the verb "offer."

There is another structure that calls my attention, which is: "to keep foreigners willing holders and accumulators of US assets," where "foreigners" is the direct object of the verb "keep," and "willing holders and accumulators of US assets" is an object complement.

This structure could be paraphrased as: "...to keep foreigners willing to hold and accumulate US assets."

Hi, Gustavo,

 

Thank you so much, I understand!

 

"to keep foreigners willing holders and accumulators of US assets" is also interesting as you pointed out.  Would you think that is okay grammatically?  In terms of style or any other point of view, which one would you prefer,  "to keep foreigners willing holders and accumulators of US assets" or "to keep foreigners willing to hold and accumulate US assets"?

Gustavo, Contributor posted:

Good point, Yasukotta. I prefer the "keep + noun + adjective" pattern. The "keep + noun + noun" pattern is grammatically correct but it seems to me that the former one is much more usual and flows more easily. Would you agree with me, David and DocV?

I agree with you, Gustavo. (You did a fantastic job parsing the sentence, by the way.) Yasukotta's proposed revision ("to keep foreigners willing to hold and accumulate US assets") flows more easily to my ear, too. Nice job, Yasukotta. 

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