Make Your Editor Cry: I’m (not) Able To vs. It’s (not) Able To

Make Your Editor Cry: I’m (not) Able To vs. It’s (not) Able To

People are able to do things, but Things are not able to be done. Likewise, people are not able to do things, but things are not, um, NOT able to be done.

Let me try that again.

Things are, well, things. They are inanimate objects or concepts. They have no will, not consciousness, and no power to make decisions or accomplish purposeful work. To attribute such aspects to them is to anthropomorphize, but that’s another topic for another day. In short, things are not able to do things on their own.

People are, well gosh, they’re people. They have will, consciousness, and souls and the power to discern and discriminate and make decisions. They are able to do things on their own.

Incorrect:

The budget shortfall was able to solve itself by the third quarter thanks to Boris.

Correct:

Boris was able to solve the budget shortfall by the third quarter.

Sidebar: The attribution of some kind of “mind” to things is a cornerstone of evolutionary theory. The common “scientific” explanation is that “evolution must have [whatever]” when presented with an impossible problem. When you just stop and think about it, the “universe” or “nature” or a concept like “evolution” is not able to plan, forecast against future need, store up materials, design complex interdependent biological ecosystems, assemble complex organisms, etc. To insist otherwise is pure comedy. Maybe we Christians got it right after all.

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