1

First of all, I am not a native English speaker, so this is always confusing.

I wrote the following sentence:

Due to its hydrophobic property, beta-carotene in carrots is more easily absorbed into the system if digested with fat-based diet than eaten raw.

Somehow I feel like there should be 'if it is' after 'than'. In this case, what should I do? Is there any general rule that I can follow?

  • 3
    You can 'eat carrots raw' (or cooked) but you can't 'eat beta carotene' raw (or any other of the chemicals contained in carrots). I'd suggest: "Due to its hydrophobic property, the beta-carotene in carrots is more easily absorbed into the system if the carrots are eaten with fat-containing foods than if they are eaten alone." – Edwin Ashworth Sep 9 '13 at 22:47
  • What's the rule in your native language? Not that that is the same as the English one, I'm just curious. – Mitch Sep 10 '13 at 12:24
  • Can't you replace "if" with "when" and replace "than" with "rather"? I also agree with @EdwinAshworth in his comments. – RyeɃreḁd Sep 10 '13 at 18:31
3

Original questionable sentence:

Due to its hydrophobic property, beta-carotene in carrots is more easily absorbed into the system if digested with fat-based diet than eaten raw.

Relevant part -- the parallel clauses; this is a comparative construction, signalled by more:

  • Y is absorbed more easily if digested with X than eaten raw.
    comes from
  • Y is absorbed more easily if Y is digested with X than if Y is eaten raw.
    (deleted parts boldfaced)

There are three clauses:

  1. Y is absorbed more easily
    if
  2. Y is digested with X
    (first comparison clause)
    than if
  3. Y is eaten raw.
    (second comparison clause)

Assuming that raw and with X are mutually exclusive, this seems clear enough.

The deletions are governed by Conjunction Reduction, which seems to have been applied here twice, with interlocking foci, producing a questionable output.

The first use is the deletion of Y is in clause (2). This is very ordinary, since subject and auxiliary are identical in all three clauses. Note, however, that clause (2) requires an if, which appears dutifully to separate clauses (1) and (2).

However, the second use of conjunction reduction is the deletion of two chunks of clause (3):

  • Y is, same as clause (2)
    and
  • if, which appears in clause (2) and thus is repeated here, following the required than.

The deletion of if (which is part of the structure, after all: more X if Y than if Z) appears to be the trouble. Conjunction reduction should not apply to if; the second use of the same rule should not delete more material than the first.

If you leave the if in clause (3), there is no problem:

  • Due to its hydrophobic property, beta-carotene in carrots is more easily absorbed into the system if digested with fat-based diet than if eaten raw.

BTW, I have not commented on what "digested with fat-based diet" might mean; it's not a standard phrase and you might want to consult with a colleague about article and preposition choice.

| improve this answer | |
0

You can find references to Correlating and Coordinating Conjunctions and Parallel Structure (Parallism) in many online references.

I found one specifically referencing your use of 'if' as defined below:

Definition of 'if'(as used here) 1 used to say that one thing can, will or might happen or be true, depending on another thing happening or being true (Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

2. Correlative conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs, in order to show the relationship between the ideas expressed in different parts of a sentence. For instance, in the following example, the expression either ... or is used to indicate that the ideas expressed in the two clauses represent two alternative choices of action. e.g. Either you should study harder, or you should take a different course.

The most commonly used correlative conjunctions are both ... and, either ... or and neither ... nor. In the table below, each pair of correlative conjunctions is accompanied by an example of its use.

Note that in the construction if ... then, the word then can usually be omitted. (emphasis added)

Correlative Conjunctions

if ... then If that is true, then what happened is not surprising.

both ... and He is both intelligent and good-natured.

either ... or I will either go for a walk or read a book.

neither ... nor He is neither rich nor famous.

hardly ... when He had hardly begun to work, when he was interrupted.

no sooner ... than No sooner had I reached the corner, than the bus came.

not only ... but also She is not only clever, but also hard-working.

rather ... than I would rather go swimming than go to the library.

scarcely ... when Scarcely had we left home, when it started to rain.

what with ... and What with all her aunts, uncles and cousins, she has many relatives.

whether ... or Have you decided whether you will come or not?

| improve this answer | |
0

It should probably say

... with a fat-based, rather than if it is ....

Though, perhaps-sadly, the wording in your question is a common shortening of speech, even in technical journalism.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.