circus elephant

Easy can be difficult

Animals that perform in circuses are easy to get tired.

If we reduce this to its most basic grammar, we get:

Animals are easy.

I don't think that's what the writer intended. Let's look at some examples!

  • My answer was pretty easy to understand.
  • = My answer was easy.
  • The daily instructions are very easy to follow.
  • = The daily instructions are easy.
  • The game is really pretty easy to play.
  • = The game is easy.

Now contrast the previous examples with the following.

  • Generally it is easier for men to handle horses.
  • = Handling horses is easy (NOT men are easy!)
  • It is easy for smartphone users to use QR codes.
  • = Using QR codes is easy (NOT smartphone users are easy!)
  • It is easy for people to misunderstand religious language and ritual.
  • = Misunderstanding is easy (NOT people are easy!)

Returning to our previous example, we can fix it (easily!) if we begin with It is easy for..:

It is easy for animals that perform in circuses to become tired.

it is easy/difficult for + noun + to + V1

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An alternative improvement would be to use an adverb:

Animals that are used to perform become tired easily.

..and for an even higher IELTS score, avoid 'become' by using the verb form of 'tired':

Animals that are used to perform tire easily.

Animal rights

If you're studying in Australia you should make an effort to see the amazing Circus OZ - an animal-free circus!