General Writing and Grammar Help/usage of the word "avoid"

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Question
Dear Ted,
I know that one meaning of the word "avoid" is "stop". However, I'm not used to using the word "avoid" as a synonym for the word "stop". Thus, I want to make sure the following sentences are grammatically correct.
1. We want to avoid things from getting worse.
2. We must avoid things from getting worse.
3. I want to avoid my health from getting worse, thus I quit smoking.
4. I want to avoid my relationship with my parents from getting worse, thus I decided to always obey them.

Answer
Dear Glen:

Dear Ted,
I know that one meaning of the word "avoid" is "stop". However, I'm not used to
using the word "avoid" as a synonym for the word "stop". Thus, I want to make
sure the following sentences are grammatically correct.
1. We want to avoid things from getting worse.
2. We must avoid things from getting worse.
3. I want to avoid my health from getting worse, thus I quit smoking.
4. I want to avoid my relationship with my parents from getting worse, thus I
decided to always obey them.

*** I do not believe that "avoid" and "stop" are synonyms, Glen.  I could find no
evidence [in several dictionaries and thesauri] that they are synonyms.  The most common
meanings of "avoid" are "to stay away from," "to elude," and "to prevent."

In the four sentences, #1 and #2 are correct.  Although #3 and #4 are correct, both sentences are awkward.  I suggest these revisions:

I wanted to prevent my health from getting worse, so I stopped smoking.

Hoping to lessen the chances of my relationships with my parents worsening, I decided to obey them always.
 

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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