# The cheaper the car, the easier to buy it

I have a technical sentence that is:

The lower the mixing paramter, the more obvious the clustering structure and thus the easier to identify the correct clustering structure.

My question is about the italic part of the sentence i.e. the easier to identify. Is that grammatically correct? Or I should use something like "the easier the correct clustering structure is to be identified" or "the easier it is to identify the correct clustering structure" or anything else?

If the technical words make no sense, this is the simplified version of my question:

The cheaper the car, the easier to buy it.

Is the above sentence correct?

Thanks in advance.

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The lower the mixing parameter is, the more obvious the clustering structure is, and thus the easier it is to identify the correct clustering structure. (This is a sentence.) – Edwin Ashworth Apr 4 '13 at 18:59
Yes, but what it means is obscured by the parallel idiomatic structure of the more `X`, is, the more `Y` is, the more `Z` is. That idiom has an implicit sense of Independent variable `X` causes proportional result `Y`, which in turn causes proportional result `Z`. – John Lawler Apr 4 '13 at 19:41
Yes. But isn't that kind of usage confusing? i.e. Y causes Z or "X causes proportional result Y" causes Z? – Shayan Apr 4 '13 at 20:25
@JohnLawler John, although I think I follow the structure of your argument, this is the first time I've been perplexed by one of your answers. Would you mind taking another look? I'm having trouble seeing how your version correlates to the OP. And Edwin's answer is correct and not confusing, is it not? – John M. Landsberg Apr 5 '13 at 5:20

## 1 Answer

Your simplified version is actually too simple (and it's wrong). The construct has

The comparative the noun, the comparative-adverb it is to verb it.

The second half of the construct has it is in it. It's omitted in the first half ("The X the Y [is]...") which means it must be present in the second half.

You can extend the first half as much as you like, but the last part must contain the verb be:

The comparative the noun, the comparative the noun, the comparative-adverb it is to verb it.

The lower your expectations, the cheaper the car, the easier it is to buy [it].

Thus in your first sentence, the last part must contain the verb be:

The lower the mixing parameter, the more obvious the clustering structure and thus the easier it is to identify the correct clustering structure. (My emphasis)

You could lose the thus because the whole construct implies that.

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Thank you for your answer. But is your example correct? "the cheaper the car, the easier it is to buy [it]." Shouldn't be "the easier it is to be bought"? – Shayan Apr 5 '13 at 8:46
No, the it in it is is a dummy it. That pronoun does not refer to the car. Another example might be "the fatter the man, the easier it is to see him" -- as well as "the fatter the man, the easier he is to see". Your passive construction is definitely unidiomatic and in some circumstances will be wrong. – Andrew Leach Apr 5 '13 at 8:51