+0
[Should and ought] are both used to talk about obligation and duty, to give advice, and to say what we think it is right for people to do or have done. (Practical English Usage, 2005, Page 511)

I feel that it is grammatically incorrect to use it in the above passage. Is my judgment correct?
Comments  
Either way is fine. The derivations are slightly different.

for people to do what is right
what is right for people to do
what (we think) is right for people to do

for people to do "x" is right (Prepose dummy "it" to obtain the next line.)
it is right for people to do "x" ("x" pronomializes to "what")
what it is right for people to do
what (we think) it is right for people to do

CJ
Hello Teo

The sentence in PEU is correct. A simplified version of the sentence would be "[Should] is used to say what we think (that) it is right for people to do". Here the relative pronoun "what", in the subordinate clause, plays the role of the object of "do". The pronoun "it" is an anticipatory subject to stand for "for people to do <what>". In other words, we can parse the sentence as it is formed as the result of raising the word <what> in "[Should] is used to say <…> we think (that) it is right for people to do <what>".

paco
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then is it correct to say?

- which do you think it is the correct answer?
Diamondrg
then is it correct to say?

- which do you think it is the correct answer?

No. It's not correct.
Diamondrgthen is it correct to say?
- which do you think it is the correct answer?
"Which is the correct answer?" ---> * "Which is the correct answer, do you think?" ---> * "Do you think + which is the correct answer?" ---> Raise "which", then "Which do you think is the correct answer?"

paco

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[Should and ought] are both used to talk about obligation and duty, to give advice, and to say what we think it is right for people to do or have done. (Practical English Usage, 2005, Page 511)

I feel that it is grammatically incorrect to use it in the above passage. Is my judgment

Icorrect?

I think your judgment is excellent, Teo. I'd wonder about it, too. "What" is the pronoun and functions as the subject of is. Now, we've got another pronoun "it" also acting as the subject of is. Now, why do we need both? I don't think you need both, and I think it's a grammatical error.

What it is, is an error. Now, in this sentence "what" is functioning as an adjective of it, making the use of "what" and "it" just fine.

Ikia
"What" is the pronoun and functions as the subject of is.

Ikia,
No. This was already discussed above. "What" is the object of "do".
It's the same as in "What should we do now?" or "What is it right to do now?"
CJ
<and to say what we think it is right for people to do or have done>

It may become clearer if we replace "what" with "that which":

1. ...and to say that which (we think) it is right for people to do or have done...

If we omit "we think" and "it", "what" has to act both as subject of "is" and object of "do":

2. ...and to say what is right for people to do or have done...

(I'm not sure the "we think" is a good stylistic choice, though, in such a context.)

MrP
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