Behaving less like invalids than like young men on a picnic

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Man_from_India

Senior Member
India
I got this sentence from Alive by Pier Paul Read.
"The army doctor examined the eight survivors to see if any of them required emergency treatment.His conclusion was that all were fit to travel; indeed the eight Uruguayans were behaving less like invalids than like young men on a picnic."

what is the meaning of the bold part of this sentence?
 
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    The doctor (or perhaps the author) has assumed that the survivors had endured an ordeal that should have greatly incapacitated them, but their behavior contradicted his expectations. "Young men on a picnic" are usually happy and outgoing.
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    See if reversing the phrasing makes it clearer: The eight Uruguayans were behaving more like young men on a picnic than like invalids.
     
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