You were instrumental in the campign for Oregon's pioneering Death with Dignity Act.
Thread poster: Hector Zedonivich
Oct 21, 2012

You were instrumental in the campaign for Oregon's pioneering Death with Dignity Act. Why that issue, death?
In 1972, long before hospice existed where I practiced, I helped a man die. He and his wife came to see me. He handed me a whole sheaf of information about his condition, and he said, "Doctor, I want you to help me die." And I recoiled, but their problem was so, so pressing that I gave him a prescription. For months I was terrified. I put my own career and my family's livelihood in jeopardy.

Oregon's act basically allows mentally competent people who have less than six months to live to get medication that will hasten their demise. How is that not assisted suicide?
If you think of a typical suicide, it's impulsive, it's often violent, and it's almost always in seclusion. This is a process done with the support of the family, after a great deal of consideration. And it's a gentle death.

You were instrumental in kiliing people.
The words instrumenal in must follow a gerund. So my example is correct.
Is it correct to write 'instrumenal in the campaign of something?


Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:39
French to English
KudoZ Oct 22, 2012

Welcome to ProZ Hector. Have you discovered the KudoZ section yet? Your question would be more appropriate as a KudoZ question, you may wish to repost it in the "monolingual English" section.

That said, it sounds fine to my native US English ear.


Hector Zedonivich
Thanks Lori for the comments Oct 22, 2012

I have learnt the idiomatic expression instrmental in must follow by an gerund.
There is no gerund.


Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:39
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
How to solve Oct 22, 2012

Apart from Kudoz, questions like these are often easy to solve by "googling" - for example here, searching for "instrumental in" and "instrumental in the" give you this as the first result: The number of results also helps to get an idea of whether a phrase might be correct or not (for example, a small number of results indicates it is most likely incorrect).

[Edited at 2012-10-22 20:56 GMT]


Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:39
Italian to English
Baffled Oct 22, 2012

Frankly Hector, I can't think of a sentence in which "instrumental" would follow a gerund. Perhaps you could give us an example.

The construction used in your example seems perfectly correct (and the most common usage) to me.


James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:39
Russian to English
+ ...
Hector… Oct 23, 2012

I've seen at least two other questions like this one from you in the forum. You seem to think English is rigid and must follow an inflexible set of rules. Nothing could be further from the truth. I took a course in linguistics taught by a disciple of Chomsky back in the 70s. The one thing I remember about the course is watching the teacher writing perfectly good English sentences on the blackboard that couldn't be parsed according to the rules of English grammar we were all taught in elementary school. That said, there is bad writing. Some people do use bad grammar. But in English any noun can be verbed. Infinitives can be split. Prepositions can go at the end of the sentence. However, dangling a participle is a sin -- except when a participle isn't a participle, as in this sentence.

Get it?

[Edited at 2012-10-23 13:13 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-10-23 13:26 GMT]


Hector Zedonivich
Thanks for all the comments. Oct 23, 2012

Russel wants me to give an example.
Niina has written about a dictionary in which we could read more about the words instrumental in.

Please look at it. When it comes to musical instruments, you don't need a gerund.
Please look at it.


Hector Zedonivich
I would like to get more answers. Oct 31, 2012

I would like to get more answers.


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You were instrumental in the campign for Oregon's pioneering Death with Dignity Act.

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