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I am referring to this question:

"Contributed to", "contributed for", or "start to"

The reason for closing the question is listed as:

Proofreading questions are off-topic unless a specific source of concern in the text is clearly identified. (emphasis added)

However, in this case, I think the O.P. did provide a specific source of concern. The question is written as:

Is my word usage right?

I just want to know if this sentence is right:

It contributed to the decision of start respecting people.

If it's not, how can I fix it? I've no idea if I should use contributed for or start to instead.

Thanks a lot!

I'm going to rephrase the question as I read it. I'm going to remove a few things that raise our collective proofreading flags, but I think this question is essentially asking the same thing:

Question about two prepositions in a sentence

I've written this sentence, but it doesn't sound quite right to me:

It contributed to the decision of start respecting people.

I'm having trouble with the preposition after contributed – should it be contributed for instead of contributed to? Also, I wonder if there should be a preposition (perhaps to) after the word start.

I think that's essentially what this question is asking.

I think the question should be opened, but I didn't want to open it unilaterally as a moderator.

I also wanted to see if the community agrees that this may be a case of "hasty closure." We see phrases like "Is this right?" and "How can I fix it?" and immediately click the "Close for proofreading" button, rather than examining the question more closely, and recognizing that a source of confusion has been identified.

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    You've raised a very good point. Just voted to reopen. – None Aug 18 '14 at 10:06
  • Were the five close votes for the same reason? There might have been other reasons given. How does it work on ELL? I'm asking the question because on some Stackexchange sites only one reason is singled out as reason for closure even if one or two other reasons were were given, it's a case of majority, not unanimity. – None Aug 18 '14 at 10:19
  • I didn't vote on that question, but if it gets reopened without any clarifying edit I'll probably vote to close as either proofreading or Unclear. Probably the quickest "fix" for the OP's garbled sentence is "It contributed to the decision to start respecting people". But that involves a third aspect of the sentence, in addition to the two items the OP explicitly says he thinks he may have got wrong. A good question asks about one aspect of usage, with a clear explanation of why the OP has a problem with it. This question doesn't even come close to that criterion. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 18 '14 at 14:27
  • @Fumble I don't know, it's asking about two things - one of which is a non-issue. The other, we can actually address, even if it answers a question he didn't ask. I don't see a problem with that, since the OP seems to have gotten halfway there with start to. – jimsug Aug 18 '14 at 14:37
  • ...I'm also somewhat irritated that the OP there made no attempt to "fix" the question itself before or after it was closed, but simply reposted it on ELU (where I've just closevoted it as General Reference). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 18 '14 at 14:37
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    @fumble it was posted first on ELU, where he was told to come here. – jimsug Aug 18 '14 at 14:39
  • @jimsug: No - the OP isn't "half-way there" with start to at all. It's a complete coincidence that to can be used as a preposition after decision as well as being the "infinitive marker" for the verb start. Which could just as well apply to ...decision to start to respect people, if we took it that far. But the OP doesn't even recognise that these issues of verb form are relevant. Any attempt to fix the text is virtually inevitably a complete rewrite, imho. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 18 '14 at 14:44
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    @FumbleFingers Although I do understand your point, I'd like to point out that it is difficult for a learner that is a near starter to 1) clearly see what it is they don't understand, 2) express in English that is good enough to give a "clear explanation of why [they have] a problem with it". – None Aug 18 '14 at 15:32
  • @FumbleFingers It does irritate me also to see that some OPs don't try to improve their questions or answer questions for clarification. In the present case I've just checked that OP hasn't come to the site since their question was closed. The fact that he got his answer on ELU and that the question was not closed there, might end up in their not even bothering checking what's become of his question here. – None Aug 18 '14 at 15:38
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    Had I known before that OP had already asked question on ELU (he posted on both sites within minutes) and had already had got an answer there, I wouldn't have bothered asking for the question to be reopened but I think J.R was right to raise the issue of reasons for closure. I've sometimes found that questions had been closed for reasons that were wrong or irrelevant. – None Aug 18 '14 at 15:41
  • @Laure: The OP specifically asks about what (if any) words should follow contributed and start in his example text. But in fact there's no need to make any changes to his text in respect of either of those points. The only aspect of the text which is totally invalid is the preposition of after decision, which isn't even being queried. Any meaningful response to the question can hardly avoid addressing that "proofreading" issue, and there's little to say about the rest (as there's nothing inherently wrong with OP's text, and we don't know what bothers him about it) – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 18 '14 at 15:45
  • @J.R. I voted to re-open. As jimsug points out, this question was asked first on ELU and then re-posted verbatim to ELL after commenters suggested that the question belongs here. I voted to close on ELU and left a flag suggesting the ELU mods migrate that copy of the question here, so they can be merged by an ELL moderator. Of course, I'm just a regular user on both sites, so it's up to you all to decide to what to do :-) – snailplane Aug 18 '14 at 18:51
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    @fumble I think that, unless you can read the OP's mind, you have no way of knowing their prior knowledge, and to call their question about start to a shot in the dark is probably a bit unfair. I wouldn't say this on ELU or Linguistics, but as a site for language learners, we should probably be more accommodating and generous with our Askers than we commonly are. – jimsug Aug 18 '14 at 21:37
  • @Fumble - What jimsug said. This O.P. had been a member of ELL for one day and hails from Argentina. As you know, ELU got tired of dealing with questions from "amateurs", so ELL was created. Non-native speakers who are struggling with the nuances of prepositions deserve quite a bit of slack here. On ELL, I try to put myself in the shoes of the asker, and try to figure out what they are struggling to ask, rather than interpreting the question verbatim. – J.R. Aug 18 '14 at 22:10
  • @J.R.: Well, given the comments here and the fact that the question has been quickly reopened, I guess there's no point in me starting a "closevote war". But I'm not impressed by a question that "just wants to know if this sentence is right", within which the only identified "questionable" elements are perfectly okay (whilst ignoring the glaring error of an incorrect preposition after decision). At the very least it should have been kept closed until the OP gave some clarification - but if this is the kind of thing you want encouraged here, I can see when I'm backing a loser. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 18 '14 at 22:27
6

Read the question. Just read it.

Proofreading looks like this:

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Is that all correct?

This isn't proofreading, in my opinion:

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

I was wondering if I used dummy correctly, or whether placeholder would also work?

Of course, such questions might be too broad, but I wouldn't really call it proofreading, especially as we've made an exception where a specific source of concern is noted.

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    Thanks! I was hoping someone would analyze my question from the general perspective, rather than delving into the petty details of this particular question, i.e., migrations, copied questions, and potential should-have rewrites. Your example confirms my initial guess: a proofreading and non-proofreading question might look very similar if you don't pay attention to what the O.P. is really trying to ask. – J.R. Aug 19 '14 at 8:44

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