2. A whale is no more a fish than a horse is a fish.

8769

Senior Member
Japanese and Japan
I think #1 is grammatically correct and #2 is not. Am I correct?
1. A whale is no more a fish than a horse is.
2. A whale is no more a fish than a horse is a fish.
 
  • Adam Cruge

    Banned
    India & Bengali
    What is the meaning of this phrase(if it does bear any special meaning different than that of the literal one)?
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I don't think it has any special meaning other than the literal one, Adam.

    But I did find this intriguing comment on another forum:
    "A whale is no more a fish than a horse is."

    This sentence is quite popular among Japanese students(aged 16 to 18) who learn the "no more...than..." structure in English. They call it "くじら構文," which means "whale structure." in Japanese. (There's no such grammatical term for it in Japanese, by the way. It has been passed down from generation to generation, I suppose.)
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I would say "A whale is no more a fish than is a horse" which avoids that sad little 'is' at the end.

    Sentence 2 is grammatical but that's all that can be said about it.

    ;)
    Hermie
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    But... If you move the "is", doesn't it say "A whale is no more a fish than (a whale) is a horse." instead of "A whale is no more a fish than a horse is (a fish)."?
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    No Myridon, it cannot mean "A whale is no more a fish than (a whale) is a horse."
    Only "A whale is no more a fish than a horse." would convey that meaning, though this last option could be interpreted in more than one way.
     

    jefrir

    Member
    English, England
    But... If you move the "is", doesn't it say "A whale is no more a fish than (a whale) is a horse." instead of "A whale is no more a fish than a horse is (a fish)."?
    No, "horse" is still the subject of the second clause. Switching the order round like that is usually somewhat archaic in English, but would work okay here.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    If you both say so, I guess it's okay. I still think those who have little experience archaic English will find it less clear rather than more clear. It seems more likely that someone reading the "is a horse" version would insert "it" (as I did) than to think to invert it.
     

    Man_from_India

    Senior Member
    Indian English
    Even I also thought like Myridon. In fact grammatical explanation also make me think like Myridon.
    As Jefrir said, inversion is possible, and still retain the same subject. But here I will go with Myridon as I feel that way.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    "A whale is no more a fish than is a horse"
    This is not archaic at all.
    It may be a little unusual, but it is standard English, meaning the same as 'A whale is no more a fish than a horse is'.
    There is nothing wrong with the 'is' at the end, though, or with sentence 2.

    Some examples of the inverted word order (verb before subject) following the conjunction 'than':

    http://www.itworld.com/answers/topic/storage/question/do-ssds-last-longer-regular-hard-drives
    SSDs create much less heat in operation than do rotating disks

    http://spanish.about.com/cs/pronunciation/f/rate_of_speech.htm
    I have read statements that Spanish speakers use more syllables per minute than do English speakers

    http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/04/30/religionandgenerosity/
    research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that the highly religious are less motivated by compassion when helping a stranger than are atheists, agnostics and less religious people.

    http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/guided_discovery/examples/seasons.html
    the equator is warmer than the poles because the equator is significantly closer to the sun than are the poles (i.e. the equator "bulges out" toward the sun).
     
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