...if we <are comparing><compare> one thing to another...

JJXR

Senior Member
Russian
Hello to all,

Thanks for reading my post.


Sample sentence:

We normally say "less likely to fail" if we <are comparing><compare> one thing to another. Since there's no comparison here, we might say, "unlikely to fail" (in terms of meaning – it sounds awkward to add this in conversation).

Question:

If I'm answering someone's question and explaining to them how the construcrion "less likely to fail" should be used, are both options that I'm proposing correct?


Thanks a lot for any comments, corrections or suggestions!

Regards,
JJXR
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    ...if we are comparing...
    ...if we compare...
    ...when we are comparing...
    ...when we compare...

    I would use "when" instead of "if" in both expressions.

    I prefer "are comparing" to "compare", but both are acceptable (using "when").
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The most likely time I would use the present continuous of 'to say' is in a question 'are you saying...?' to try to understand what the other person has just said/is trying to say. You can use 'if you are saying' in similar circumstances.
    The above quote is Uncle Jack's reply to my other thread. Does the same make sense for "are comparing" versus "compare"?

    The speaker is not sure whether he/she and the other person are comparing one thing to another:
    • We normally say "less likely to fail" if we are comparing one thing to another.
    The speaker knows for sure that nothing is being compared at the moment. He/she simply tells the other person what they would say in a general situation if they were to compare one thing to another:
    • We normally say "less likely to fail" if we compare one thing to another.
     
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