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I ran into this particular sentence today:

They shouldn't work more than they are now.

Though, I'd expect this sentence to be expressed as:

They shouldn't work more than they work now.

or:

They shouldn't be working more than they are now.

Is my conception of English wrong on that particular point or is the former sentence incorrect?

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closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, MετάEd, tchrist, kiamlaluno, StoneyB Sep 16 '12 at 16:59

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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General Reference. The simplest change needed to make the first sentence valid is They shouldn't work more than they do now. –  FumbleFingers Sep 14 '12 at 13:46
    
Oh right, your form is definitely better than my first edit proposal :) Do you have any formal backup so that I can better argue my point? Thanks! –  Mog Sep 14 '12 at 13:50
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You starting sentence is invalid, as you presumably realise. But there's nothing "wrong" with your suggested alternatives, and my version isn't "better" than either - it's just the smallest change needed to fix the original. –  FumbleFingers Sep 14 '12 at 14:13
    
Ok, thanks for clearing that up :) –  Mog Sep 14 '12 at 14:22
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Although the the first form is not valid grammatically (work is something you do, not something you are), it does show up in hasty speech sometimes, where I would interpret it as a present progressive: "They shouldn't work more than they are [working] now." –  Cameron Sep 14 '12 at 15:03

1 Answer 1

A problem with that first sentence is that are does not belong with that form of work. Substitute do and that sentence becomes acceptable: “They shouldn’t work more than they do now.’

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This answer doesn't add much to FumbleFingers comment, so I'd rather have him post it if there's no further point to be made. –  Mog Sep 15 '12 at 15:49
    
That's fine. My thought was that testing the secondary verb (are) with "work" is a quick way to flush out what made the sentence seem awkward. –  Kristina Lopez Sep 15 '12 at 16:35

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