2

I'm comparing an object A to 2 other objects B and C.

Objects names are somehow long so It seems to me that adding another "than" makes the sentence clearer:

A also had a significantly better predictive value on these outcomes than its simplified version B and than the alternative version C.

A colleague told me I should remove the second than.

Is there a rule stating I should remove it ? Else, is the sentence really clearer this way ?

  • 1
    I think i would use: "A is better than B or C". – J. Taylor Feb 18 at 10:21
  • I would only use a second "than" if I was placing the options descending order as in "A is better than B and B is better than C" or "A is better than B which is better than C". – BoldBen Feb 18 at 10:58
  • 1
    Your friend is wrong that you should remove it. You could remove it or not. It is up to you. That kind of omission between coordinated terms (like connected with an and) is called gapping. The sentence without gapping is easier to understand, but also sometimes more tedious to read. – mama Feb 18 at 11:22
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    @J.Taylor In a model in which A is better than B but worse than C, the OP's sentence becomes false, while yours remains true. Therefore, the two sentences don't have the same meaning. – mama Feb 18 at 13:40
3

You can keep the second than. It's clearer with the second than since without it there is some ambiguity about the meaning of and.

A car is more desirable to him than a free place to stay and? a motorcycle.

Are we to understand a place to stay and a motorcycle as a "package deal" or as separate comparands?

We can't afford to buy you a car, but we can get you a motorcycle and you can continue to live here with us rent-free.

P.S. Of course you can always use or instead of and (and with or without the second than) if B and C are not a duo but separate items each being compared in turn to A.

0

The word "than" is unnecessary, as J. Taylor wrote above the correct way to phrase this is "A is better than B or C", which carries the precise meaning you're looking for.

  • 1
    Completing the gap in A is better than B or C to A is better than B or better than C results in a sentence that is not equivalent to A is better than B and better than C. Therefore the claim that the correct way is with an or is quite far from the truth. – mama Feb 18 at 13:13
  • Indeed, mama's comment on my original post kind of invalidate this answer, these sentences don't have the same meaning – Dan Chaltiel Feb 18 at 13:43
0

The second "than" is unnecessary as the two clauses are combined with the conjuction "and", or even the conjunction "or", which, according to this context, is interchangeable with "and".

You could use the second "than" if an intensifier was prior to "than", as in: "This car is more expensive than this one, and/or even than its predecessor which actually had more extras; the difference being in the quality material used in the newer one...", or, if the two conjuctive clauses weren't combined in meaning, that is they had a different PREDICATIVE

  • Thanks, the "even" case is interesting (though it doesn't fit my case). Anyhow, the question was not if the second "than" was necessary but if it was allowed and adding clarity to my sentence. – Dan Chaltiel Feb 18 at 13:40
  • Thank you for your comment, Dan Chaltiel! It is clear that you could omit the second "than", as it is syntactically shown, that it is just a verbalism and your message is clear in the sentence and is fully conveyed as you meant – Fotis1967 Feb 18 at 14:47
0

A is better than B and C.

This sentence is ambiguous.

It can mean one of two things:

  1. A is better than B, and A is better than C.
  2. A is better than the combination of both B and C.

Using than twice is one way of making the first meaning explicit.

The other way is this:

A is better than B or C.


So, your colleague is wrong in that you shouldn't just remove the second than if you want a sentence whose meaning is explicit. If you remove the second than, you need to also change and to or.


Update: As has been pointed out in a comment, if we equate natural language with symbolic logic (which is not always how English works—because English is neither completely logical nor mathematical), then the following issue could arise:

  1. A is better than B.
  2. A is not better than C.

But this statement would still be true:

A is better than B or C.

It would be true because A is better than one of B or C.


If we allow for that additional interpretation, then one of the following could be said:

A is better than both B or C.
A is better than all of B or C.

Both of those are phrased in a slightly odd way—the latter would normally be used only if there were three or more items—but they mean the same thing as the first sense at the start of my answer.

However, in short, keeping the second than may be the simplest phrasing.

  • Hi Jason, as mama's comment states on my original post your solution have not the same meaning than my sentence. – Dan Chaltiel Feb 19 at 8:07
  • @DanChaltiel I'm confused because the answer that you accepted says exactly the same thing as my answer—it's just that we explained our answers differently. (It was the different way I thought to explain it that led me to provide my own answer rather than just upvote the existing one.) – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Feb 19 at 8:20
  • You are right, I did not see the PS at that time. Still, I don't fully agree with the PS as per mama's comment, even if in my context this is not that important. – Dan Chaltiel Feb 19 at 8:34
  • @DanChaltiel I have updated my answer to include the additional possibility. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Feb 19 at 8:44

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