Is this sentence correct?

“The report offers a five-point plan to put French industry back on track: enact tax reforms, collaborate more, put more emphasis on human capital, focus training and research better and drive down industrial costs.” (The Economist) … lostdecade

Is the bold part correct? Should it be “focus better on training and research?”

Hi Atomos,

It certainly looks as if ‘on’ is missing. Perhaps ‘focus on better training and research.’


Hi Atomos,

I disagree. The wording is fine for me. To me, ‘focus training and research better’ means ‘adjust/improve the focus of research and training (so that the focus is clear and/or only on important things)’. It means that the areas of research and training currently lack proper or adequate focus. Perhaps both training and research have fingers in too many pies, resulting in basically no real focus (on anything) at all. Without good enough focus, goals are fuzzy (unclear). I would think that if they don’t focus research and training properly, they won’t be able to set or even see any clear goals – because everything is out of focus.

This really is not quite what that part of the sentence means. This wording focuses on quality rather than on focus.

[size=75]“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” ~ Mark Twain [/size]

Interesting but I note you are veering towards ‘focus on’ twice in your message -


Clearly ‘focus on’ is a commonly used collocation. However, you’ve apparently missed my point entirely, Alan. Apparently you’ve missed the point in the original sentence as well. Would you like me to post a slew of real sentences that use the verb ‘focus’ without the word ‘on’? I’m sure I’ll be able to find plenty of usage examples for you.

Or are you just peeved that I’m right and you’re not?

[size=75]“I don’t have pet peeves, I have whole kennels of irritation.” ~ Whoopi Goldberg[/size]

Hi Amy,

I see you’re still bristling. What a pity after all this time.


My guess it that “research” in the original sentence is not a noun but a verb.
I have another question. All the verbs of the sentence are in the bare infinitive. I mean there is no “to”:

Shouldn’t it be “to” at least before the first verb (entact)?

Yes, it is fine that way.

No, not really. The original sentence means something like ‘cause research and training to have better/clearer/improved focus’.

It suggests that research and training do not have good or enough focus, which would also suggest that their goals are blurry.

No, the word ‘research’ is a noun in the sentence, and it is the object of the verb ‘focus’.

No, the sense here is this: “(They should) enact …, (they should) focus…” etc.

Cute. No bristling over on this side of the pond. But things are looking distinctly sticky in your neck of the woods. lol

[size=75]“When every physical and mental resources is focused, one’s power to solve a problem multiplies tremendously.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale[/size]

Sticky? What exactly do you mean by that?


Sticky as in you’re stuck. Stuck with what you’ve already posted. Stuck with your seeming inability to understand. A very sticky situation indeed.

My offer still stands: I’d be more than happy to post lots of usage examples of the verb ‘focus’ without the word ‘on’. Of course, you could always just check the British National Corpus. I’ll bet you a buck you’ll be able to find plenty of examples there for your reading enjoyment.

[size=75]“Welcome those big, sticky, complicated problems. In them are your most powerful opportunities.” ~ Ralph Marston [/size]

I say thanks awfully. You’re really too kind!


Why not respond with a spoken message? It would be really super to hear you.


Still waiting!


Still stuck, I guess.

Oh, dear. I hope you’re not still waiting, Alan.

I really do think you should focus your attention differently, though. What’s the sound of my voice got to do with the price of beans in this thread?

[size=84](And there is an example of the verb ‘focus’ without ‘on’ for you – just in case that was what you were really waiting for.)[/size]

[size=75]“In playing or managing, the game of ball is only fun for me when I’m out in front and winning. I don’t give a hill of beans for the rest of the game.” ~ John McGraw[/size]

Hi Amy,

All that effort for me and still no voice. I wonder why it is that you and others (particularly Americans) are so reluctant to speak out loud but never abashed to speak out.