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X times as much as/more than "what"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by wilsyls, May 5, 2014.

  1. wilsyls

    wilsyls Junior Member

    Taiwan
    Chinese(I'm a Taiwanese)
    Hi everybody,

    1. we now do three times the business we did last year
    2. we now do three times the amount of business we did last year

    I think these sentences 1 and 2 above are correct
    but I am not so sure about these sentences below

    3. we now do three times as much business as we did last year
    4. we now do three times as much business as what we did last year
    5. we now do three times more business than what we did last year

    6. we now do three times more business than we did last year (I guess this one is incorrect)



    Should I keep these "whats" or drop them, or are they both okay here?
    I believe all the sentences above mean the same thing, but sentences 5 and 6 can be confusing, right?like people might have questions such as "Is it "three times as much" or "four times as much"?"
    so, on the safe side, I should stick with 1, 2 and 3/4, right?

    Thank you guys for sharing! :)
     
  2. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    Spanish
    My understanding is that you can drop the 'whats'. There are three levels:

    Completely explicit (tiring to read)

    1a) We now do three times as much business as the business we did last year.
    1b) We now do three times more business than the business we did last year.

    Explicit with pronouns (somewhat less tiring)

    2a) We now do three times as much business as what we did last year.
    2b) We now do three times more business than what we did last year.

    Implicit (not tiring)

    3a) We now do three times as much business as we did last year.
    3b) We now do three times more business than we did last year.
     
  3. wilsyls

    wilsyls Junior Member

    Taiwan
    Chinese(I'm a Taiwanese)
    Thank you EStjarn.

    But here is what always confuses me,

    3a) We now do three times as much business as we did last year.
    3b) We now do three times more business than we did last year.

    shouldn't it be "as much something as something", and you say "as we did last year" after you say something like "this year we sold everything as fast", and the entire sentence goes "this year we sold everything as fast as we did last year". I mean, shouldn't "as much business as" be followd by a noun, and not "we did"?
     
  4. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    Spanish
    It's a case of ellipsis, which is an important feature of English usage. Words or phrases that are understood are omitted in certain constructions.

    There is little point in looking for grammatical logic in elliptical sentences, unless you expand them to include the omitted words.
     
  5. wilsyls

    wilsyls Junior Member

    Taiwan
    Chinese(I'm a Taiwanese)
    Wow, I probably would only get to see this word "ellipsis" once in my life and I see it here today.
    Thank you EStjarn so much for sharing, your replies have been quite helpful!:)
     
  6. velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    I agree with EStjarn about the ellipsis.

    Re: post #2, I feel unhappy about:

    2a) We now do three times as much business as what we did last year.
    2b) We now do three times more business than what we did last year.

    I wouldn't use either of these because they sound ...hmmm...not very elegant, but I don't know whether it's just me being fussy. I certainly wouldn't use these options when writing.
     
  7. wilsyls

    wilsyls Junior Member

    Taiwan
    Chinese(I'm a Taiwanese)
    Hi, velisarius,

    So you'd go with 3a) and 3b), and definitely not 1a) and 1b), right?
     
  8. velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    Right. (Though "three times as much" and "three times more" always confuse me as to whether they mean the same thing -but that's another topic and it's been dealt with in other threads.)
     
  9. wilsyls

    wilsyls Junior Member

    Taiwan
    Chinese(I'm a Taiwanese)
    Yet another interesting topic. I actually posted similar questions before.

    Thank you, velisarius, for sharing.
     

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