produces more satisfying results than existing [ambiguity?]

cossack5

Senior Member
Russian
Hi, friends

It recently dawned on me that such clauses can be interpreted two ways. For example, the following sentence (modified version taken from the internet):

Google produces more satisfying search results than existing systems.

Could mean that:
1. Google produces more search results. [POSSIBLE]
2. Goggle produces the results that are more satisfying. [?POSSIBLE]
3. Google produces more results than it produces systems. [UNLIKELY]

I hope my reasoning is correct.

2. Then, suppose we inserted a "much" before "more"? Would interpretation change?

Google produces much more satisfying search results than existing systems.

I think ambiguity here becomes somewhat veiled by the "more" keyword, so only the first interpretation is possible.

3. Lastly, as is known, formal English mandates the use of "full" verbs instead of ellipses in secondary clauses (that is, "than existing systems do" in this case) when the main clause contains a transitive verb (that is, "produce" in this case). So my question is, would "do-expansion" change anything here (in terms of meaning and/or ambiguity)?

Google produces (much) more satisfying search results than existing systems do.

To me it seems as the previous one, differing only in being 100% grammatical.

P.S. I apologize if I have listed too many questions but they all pertain to the same thing; I also apologize for being too finicky about linguistic matters - these things simply don't want to resolve by themselves in my head :).
 
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  • london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hi, friends

    Google produces more satisfying search results than existing systems.

    Could mean that:
    1. Google produces more search results. [POSSIBLE]:cross:
    2. Goggle produces the results that are more satisfying. [?POSSIBLE]:cross:
    3. Google produces more results than it produces systems. [UNLIKELY]:cross:

    It means that Google produces a greater number of satisfying results as compared to other systems (by which I think they mean ' other search engines').
    'Much more' is something many people object to, as it simply reinforces the idea of 'more' (greater number/quantity).
     
    Last edited:

    cossack5

    Senior Member
    Russian
    'Much more' is something many people object to, as it simply reinforces the idea of 'more? (greater number/quantity).
    Sorry, is it a question?
    I just wanted to get some information from native speakers on how they interpret the above sentences.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Google produces more satisfying search results than existing systems.
    "More" here presumably means "a greater number of", though I see the ambiguity. "Many more" would remove ambiguity, I think.

    Google produces much more satisfying search results than existing systems.

    "More" here means "to a greater extent". In other words, the meaning changes slightly. The search results are "more satisfying".

    "Do" at the end is not essential for the meaning, in my opinion, but I think it does makes the meaning clearer.
     

    cossack5

    Senior Member
    Russian
    velisarius, thanks but I have one more question:
    Google produces much more satisfying search results than existing systems.
    "More" here means "to a greater extent". In other words, the meaning changes slightly. The search results are "more satisfying".
    Isn't it considered a mistake to modify to "search results" (not "satisfying") with "much", since "much" is geared for uncountable nouns or adjectives and etc. Wouldn't it more grammatical to displace "much" by "many" (when referring to "results"), that is:
    Google produces many more satisfying search results than existing systems.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    velisarius, thanks but I have one more question:
    Google produces much more satisfying search results than existing systems.
    "More" here means "to a greater extent". In other words, the meaning changes slightly. The search results are "more satisfying".
    Isn't it considered a mistake to modify to "search results" (not "satisfying") with "much", since "much" is geared for uncountable nouns or adjectives and etc. Wouldn't it more grammatical to displace "much" by "many" (when referring to "results"), that is:
    Google produces many more satisfying search results than existing systems.
    Hi cossack5

    Google produces much more satisfying search results than existing systems. means
    Google produces results that are much more satisfying than the results produced by existing systems.

    "Much", there, would modify "more satisfying"; it wouldn't modify "search results".
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hi cossack5

    Google produces much more satisfying search results than existing systems. means
    Google produces results that are much more satisfying than the results produced by existing systems.

    "Much", there, would modify "more satisfying"; it wouldn't modify "search results".
    You're right of course, but some people still object to it, as I said above. I say it, for example, but I would never write it.;)
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I don't have any problem with it myself, lc - I hadn't realised some people object to it. Would they also object to eg "My nephew bakes much better cakes than I do?"
     
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