rather than + infinitive/gerund/whatever?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Stan_Shi, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. Stan_Shi Junior Member

    Beijing, China
    mandarin
    I came across a sentence that goes:

    Ann made students think for themselves rather than telling them what to do.

    May I say "Ann made students think for themselves rather than told them what to do."
    It seems to me that "told" should be in parallel with "made".

    Or is it possible to replace "telling" with "tell" here?


    I understand that in the following sentence, both a bare infinitive and a jerund seem to be acceptable.
    I think I'll stay at home rather than go/going out.

    Any comments on this? Thank you.
     
  2. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    Spanish
    For some reason the parallel structure above (using 'told') doesn't sound right. Perhaps it's to do with the phrase 'rather than'.

    According to Merriam-Webster, 'rather than' is followed by an infinitive when used as a conjunction. When 'rather than' functions as a preposition, it is, naturally, followed by a noun phrase, which in turn may be headed by a gerund, such as 'telling'.

    In order to make the clauses parallel, I think it's necessary to negate one of the verbs:

    Ann did not tell students what to do; rather, she made them think for themselves.
     
  3. Stan_Shi Junior Member

    Beijing, China
    mandarin
    So maybe I'd better use either an infinitive or a gerund since the function of "rather than" is rather obscure.

    By the way, I really appreciate your suggestion to negate one of the verbs.

    ^_^
     

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