more than / rather than / less than

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Akasaka, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. Akasaka Senior Member

    Japanese
    Hello all,
    Are the following 3 sentences correct?
    Ken is more a hard-working student than a genius.
    Ken is less a hard-working student than a genius.
    Ken is rather a hard-working student than a genius.


    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    1 is good.
    2 might be good, but is perhaps less common than 1.

    There are at least two "normal" constructions using these terms.
    A is more a B than a C.
    A is a B rather than a C.

    3 might be good, but I don't believe I've ever heard it said that way.
    A sentence that begins with "A is rather a hard-working student ..." feels as if it is using rather meaning "more so than not", not rather meaning "more correctly, more accurately".
     
  3. Akasaka Senior Member

    Japanese
    Thanks panjandrum,
    I guessed all 3 could be used. But it seems there's something wrong with number 3. Thanks a lot.
     
  4. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    It works fine, Akasaka, if you use this formula proposed by Panjandrum:

    A is a B rather than a C.

    Ken is rather a hard-working student than a genius.:cross:

    becomes

    Ken is a hard-working student rather than a genius. :tick:
     
  5. bonbon2023

    bonbon2023 Senior Member

    Korean(south)
    By promptly disclosing medical errors and offering earnest apologies and fair compensation, they hope to restore integrity to dealings with patients, make it easier to learn from mistakes and dilute anger that often fuels lawsuits.
    Malpractice lawyers say that what often transforms a reasonable patient into an indignant plaintiff is less an error than its concealment, and the victim’s concern that it will happen again.
    Despite some projections that disclosure would prompt a flood of lawsuits, hospitals are reporting decreases in their caseloads and savings in legal costs. Malpractice premiums have declined in some instances, though market forces may be partly responsible.
    (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/us/18apology.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)


    I assume the underlined clause is equivalent to 'what often transforms a reasonable patient into an indignant plaintiff is its concealment rather than an error', and to 'what often transforms a reasonable patient into an indignant plaintiff is more its concealment than an error.'


     
  6. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    If you want to switch the order around, you create one little problem:

    ... is more its concealment than an error.

    The reader encounters a pronoun without an antecedent here. The concealment of what? It doesn't work. You have to re-write a little more:

    ... is more the concealment of an error than the error itself.

    That works - but look how much wordier it is. Also, now the two events come out of order: normally errors happen and then get concealed. But this sentence mentions the concealment before it mentions the error. So the sentence now has an abnormal time-frame, which is fine, but it's less straightforward.
     
  7. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    A problem with your rephrasings, Bonbon, is that you use the adjective its before you mention the thing itself, the error. This can cause problems for the reader.

    Cross-posted with Lucas.
     
  8. bonbon2023

    bonbon2023 Senior Member

    Korean(south)
    Oh I haven't thought of the antecedent before seeing this! Thank you for your insightful explanation and point, lucas. :)

    Thank you for your input, Thomas. :)
     

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