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'I am ambitious to become rich and famous.'
Although this sentence is grammatically correct, it sounds strange to me but I can't put my finger on what's wrong. Whereas the following sentence sounds OK to me:


'I am eager/keen to become rich and famous.'
Can someone enlighten me, please? Many thanks.
New Member46
I'm not so sure that the first sentence is grammatically correct. You can certainly say 'I am ambitious.' - i.e. ambitious in general. But when specifying the nature of the ambition, it would be more natural to write:

'My ambition is to become rich and famous.'

The second sentence (in either form) is fine.
New Member12
The first seems to be quite rare. I've only found it used in the title of this book:

------
Ambitious to be well-pleasing : a festschrift for the centennial of
the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church,
1886/87-1986/87

by Allen C. Guelzo
--------

and I'd consider it quite strange.
Veteran Member11,673
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Thank you for your input. Maybe I should elaborate a little more on this query:

During a lesson where I asked my students to make sentences using the adjective 'ambitious', one of them came up with the sentence in question. I instinctively sensed that there was something wrong but couldn't quite explain it although structurally it does look all right to me.

You seem to disagree with me that the 1st sentence (with 'ambitious' as the adjective) is grammatically correct. However, my logic is that since both 'ambitious' and 'eager' are adjectives modifying the noun 'I', if the sentence with 'eager' is correct, why not the one with 'ambitious'?
Df2006 However, my logic is that since both 'ambitious' and 'eager' are adjectives modifying the noun 'I', if the sentence with 'eager' is correct, why not the one with 'ambitious'?

Isn't it just a matter of collocation? Or maybe it is that "ambitious" has a more stative feel to it and "eager" is more of a temporary word.

Think how strange "I'm ambitious to get ahead" sounds, but "I'm eager to get ahead" does not.
Senior Member3,149
Just one of those things I guess; different words are used in different ways.

We just don't say 'ambitious to'. Equally, we wouldn't just say 'I am eager' or 'I am keen' without defining in some way what we were eager or keen about.
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Hi guys,

'I am ambitious to become rich and famous.'

I have a comment, solely from a teaching perspective.

I think there is a time to correct and a time not to correct. Only the teacher can decide that, based on his /her knowledge of the student. The sentence above shows that the student understands this new word. It may be de-motivating to start in at this point with 'Yes, but you shouldn't say that'.

Even native speakers come up with slightly odd-sounding collocations sometimes. I guess that's how the language evolves.

If your student says the above, he'll certainly be understood by others with no problem, which is way more than half the game right there.

Best wishes, Clive
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Hi Clive

Thank you for your comment which certainly makes a lot of sense.

Thanks also to ALL who have helped!

Donna
<I think there is a time to correct and a time not to correct. Only the teacher can decide that, based on his /her knowledge of the student. The sentence above shows that the student understands this new word. It may be de-motivating to start in at this point with 'Yes, but you shouldn't say that'.

Even native speakers come up with slightly odd-sounding collocations sometimes. I guess that's how the language evolves.>

In the main, I agree. There has to be place for novel combinations, but here I think a genuine collocational mistake was made.
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