Discussion:
comparison - less variable than beef?
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Yurui Liu
2018-09-14 11:12:29 UTC
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Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that we
say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat is bigger
than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a person's size with an object's.

But I saw the following sentence in a dictionary. Is it natural
and correct?

The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.
Cheryl
2018-09-14 11:19:39 UTC
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On 2018-09-14 8:42 AM, Yurui Liu wrote:
> Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that we
> say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat is bigger
> than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a person's size with an object's.
>
> But I saw the following sentence in a dictionary. Is it natural
> and correct?
>
> The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.
>
It sounds like a bad or at least careless way of speaking. It's the sort
of sentence my Grade 8 English teacher would refuse to accept. It should
be something like "The quality of pork is often less variable than that
of beef."

"That" refers to "quality" and avoids the repetition of "The quality of
pork is often less variable than the quality of beef."

--
Cheryl
bert
2018-09-14 11:20:08 UTC
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On Friday, 14 September 2018 12:12:32 UTC+1, Yurui Liu wrote:
> . . . I saw the following sentence in a dictionary.
> Is it natural and correct?
>
> The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.

Such an elision is a common type of error.
The quality of pork is often less variable than that of beef.
--
Mark Brader
2018-09-14 18:21:12 UTC
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Yurui Liu:
> > . . . I saw the following sentence in a dictionary.
> > Is it natural and correct?
> >
> > The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.

Bert Hutchings:
> Such an elision is a common type of error.
> The quality of pork is often less variable than that of beef.

Common, yes. Error, no.
--
Mark Brader "'A matter of opinion'[?] I have to say you are
Toronto right. There['s] your opinion, which is wrong,
***@vex.net and mine, which is right." -- Gene Ward Smith
Paul Carmichael
2018-09-14 11:20:20 UTC
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On 14/09/18 13:12, Yurui Liu wrote:
> Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that we
> say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat is bigger
> than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a person's size with an object's.
>
> But I saw the following sentence in a dictionary. Is it natural
> and correct?
>
> The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.
>

"than that of" - otherwise they're talking about the beef being variable.

--
Paul.

https://paulc.es/
https://asetrad.org
Yurui Liu
2018-09-16 07:17:47 UTC
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Paul Carmichael於 2018年9月14日星期五 UTC+8下午7時20分23秒寫道:
> On 14/09/18 13:12, Yurui Liu wrote:
> > Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that we
> > say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat is bigger
> > than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a person's size with an object's.
> >
> > But I saw the following sentence in a dictionary. Is it natural
> > and correct?
> >
> > The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.
> >
>
> "than that of" - otherwise they're talking about the beef being variable.

Would it be natural to use "beef's"?



>
> --
> Paul.
>
> https://paulc.es/
> https://asetrad.org
Peter Moylan
2018-09-16 07:44:44 UTC
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On 16/09/18 17:17, Yurui Liu wrote:
> Paul Carmichael於 2018年9月14日星期五 UTC+8下午7時20分23秒寫道:
>> On 14/09/18 13:12, Yurui Liu wrote:
>>> Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that we
>>> say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat is bigger
>>> than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a person's size with an object's.
>>>
>>> But I saw the following sentence in a dictionary. Is it natural
>>> and correct?
>>>
>>> The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.
>>>
>>
>> "than that of" - otherwise they're talking about the beef being variable.
>
> Would it be natural to use "beef's"?

For me, yes, but I suspect I'm in a minority.

--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Yurui Liu
2018-09-16 08:26:07 UTC
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Peter Moylan於 2018年9月16日星期日 UTC+8下午3時44分48秒寫道:
> On 16/09/18 17:17, Yurui Liu wrote:
> > Paul Carmichael於 2018年9月14日星期五 UTC+8下午7時20分23秒寫道:
> >> On 14/09/18 13:12, Yurui Liu wrote:
> >>> Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that we
> >>> say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat is bigger
> >>> than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a person's size with an object's.
> >>>
> >>> But I saw the following sentence in a dictionary. Is it natural
> >>> and correct?
> >>>
> >>> The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.
> >>>
> >>
> >> "than that of" - otherwise they're talking about the beef being variable.
> >
> > Would it be natural to use "beef's"?
>
> For me, yes, but I suspect I'm in a minority.

The structure of "The quality of pork is often less variable
than beef's" is not parallel. Is it okay?


>
> --
> Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
> Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Peter Moylan
2018-09-16 11:23:00 UTC
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On 16/09/18 18:26, Yurui Liu wrote:
> Peter Moylan於 2018年9月16日星期日 UTC+8下午3時44分48秒寫道:
>> On 16/09/18 17:17, Yurui Liu wrote:
>>> Paul Carmichael於 2018年9月14日星期五 UTC+8下午7時20分23秒寫道:
>>>> On 14/09/18 13:12, Yurui Liu wrote:
>>>>> Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that
>>>>> we say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat
>>>>> is bigger than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a
>>>>> person's size with an object's.
>>>>>
>>>>> But I saw the following sentence in a dictionary. Is it
>>>>> natural and correct?
>>>>>
>>>>> The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> "than that of" - otherwise they're talking about the beef being
>>>> variable.
>>>
>>> Would it be natural to use "beef's"?
>>
>> For me, yes, but I suspect I'm in a minority.
>
> The structure of "The quality of pork is often less variable than
> beef's" is not parallel. Is it okay?

I think so, because the implied comparison is with beef's quality.
Personally, I would say "than that of beef", but your version also looks
acceptable.

--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Peter T. Daniels
2018-09-14 12:32:19 UTC
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On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:12:32 AM UTC-4, Yurui Liu wrote:

> Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that we
> say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat is bigger
> than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a person's size with an object's.
>
> But I saw the following sentence in a dictionary. Is it natural
> and correct?
>
> The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.

It is not acceptable Standard Written English.

Is it a dictionary of colloquial expressions?
Yurui Liu
2018-09-14 12:41:46 UTC
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Peter T. Daniels於 2018年9月14日星期五 UTC+8下午8時32分21秒寫道:
> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:12:32 AM UTC-4, Yurui Liu wrote:
>
> > Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that we
> > say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat is bigger
> > than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a person's size with an object's.
> >
> > But I saw the following sentence in a dictionary. Is it natural
> > and correct?
> >
> > The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.
>
> It is not acceptable Standard Written English.
>
> Is it a dictionary of colloquial expressions?

It's a leaner's dictionary. Are you suggesting the said example
is acceptable in colloquial English?
Peter T. Daniels
2018-09-14 12:48:39 UTC
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On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 8:41:49 AM UTC-4, Yurui Liu wrote:
> Peter T. Daniels於 2018年9月14日星期五 UTC+8下午8時32分21秒寫道:
> > On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:12:32 AM UTC-4, Yurui Liu wrote:

> > > Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that we
> > > say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat is bigger
> > > than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a person's size with an object's.
> > > But I saw the following sentence in a dictionary. Is it natural
> > > and correct?
> > > The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.
> > It is not acceptable Standard Written English.
> > Is it a dictionary of colloquial expressions?
>
> It's a leaner's dictionary. Are you suggesting the said example
> is acceptable in colloquial English?

What would "acceptable" mean in reference to colloquial speech? As everyone
has pointed out, it occurs.
Yurui Liu
2018-09-14 13:14:16 UTC
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Peter T. Daniels於 2018年9月14日星期五 UTC+8下午8時48分42秒寫道:
> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 8:41:49 AM UTC-4, Yurui Liu wrote:
> > Peter T. Daniels於 2018年9月14日星期五 UTC+8下午8時32分21秒寫道:
> > > On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:12:32 AM UTC-4, Yurui Liu wrote:
>
> > > > Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that we
> > > > say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat is bigger
> > > > than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a person's size with an object's.
> > > > But I saw the following sentence in a dictionary. Is it natural
> > > > and correct?
> > > > The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.
> > > It is not acceptable Standard Written English.
> > > Is it a dictionary of colloquial expressions?
> >
> > It's a leaner's dictionary. Are you suggesting the said example
> > is acceptable in colloquial English?
>
> What would "acceptable" mean in reference to colloquial speech? As everyone
> has pointed out, it occurs.


Is it as common as "John's hat is bigger than Peter"?
Jerry Friedman
2018-09-14 14:15:12 UTC
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On 9/14/18 7:14 AM, Yurui Liu wrote:
> Peter T. Daniels於 2018年9月14日星期五 UTC+8下午8時48分42秒寫道:
>> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 8:41:49 AM UTC-4, Yurui Liu wrote:
>>> Peter T. Daniels於 2018年9月14日星期五 UTC+8下午8時32分21秒寫道:
>>>> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:12:32 AM UTC-4, Yurui Liu wrote:
>>
>>>>> Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that we
>>>>> say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat is bigger
>>>>> than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a person's size with an object's.
>>>>> But I saw the following sentence in a dictionary. Is it natural
>>>>> and correct?
>>>>> The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.
>>>> It is not acceptable Standard Written English.
>>>> Is it a dictionary of colloquial expressions?
>>>
>>> It's a leaner's dictionary. Are you suggesting the said example
>>> is acceptable in colloquial English?
>>
>> What would "acceptable" mean in reference to colloquial speech? As everyone
>> has pointed out, it occurs.
>
>
> Is it as common as "John's hat is bigger than Peter"?

That's rare, probably non-existent. However, "... this zucchini dip is
a spin on the popular baba ghanoush. Its texture is a lot like artichoke
dip." strikes me an unsurprising. The difference must be semantic, but
I can't put my finger on it now. Maybe because "texture" is abstract?

Many, probably most English speakers make these shifts in comparisons
all the time, and no native speaker has any trouble understanding them.

--
Jerry Friedman
John Varela
2018-09-15 00:49:53 UTC
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On Fri, 14 Sep 2018 14:15:12 UTC, Jerry Friedman
<***@yahoo.com> wrote:

> On 9/14/18 7:14 AM, Yurui Liu wrote:
> > Peter T. Daniels 2018914 UTC+884842:
> >> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 8:41:49 AM UTC-4, Yurui Liu wrote:
> >>> Peter T. Daniels 2018914 UTC+883221:
> >>>> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:12:32 AM UTC-4, Yurui Liu wrote:
> >>
> >>>>> Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that we
> >>>>> say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat is bigger
> >>>>> than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a person's size with an object's.
> >>>>> But I saw the following sentence in a dictionary. Is it natural
> >>>>> and correct?
> >>>>> The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.
> >>>> It is not acceptable Standard Written English.
> >>>> Is it a dictionary of colloquial expressions?
> >>>
> >>> It's a leaner's dictionary. Are you suggesting the said example
> >>> is acceptable in colloquial English?
> >>
> >> What would "acceptable" mean in reference to colloquial speech? As everyone
> >> has pointed out, it occurs.
> >
> >
> > Is it as common as "John's hat is bigger than Peter"?

I would be content with an 's added to Peter. "John's hat is bigger
than Peter's."

> That's rare, probably non-existent. However, "... this zucchini dip is
> a spin on the popular baba ghanoush. Its texture is a lot like artichoke
> dip." strikes me an unsurprising. The difference must be semantic, but
> I can't put my finger on it now. Maybe because "texture" is abstract?

And similarly, "Its texture is a lot like artichoke dip's."

> Many, probably most English speakers make these shifts in comparisons
> all the time, and no native speaker has any trouble understanding them.

There are lots of usage errors that don't block understanding. That
doesn't mean they aren't errors.

--
John Varela
Madrigal Gurneyhalt
2018-09-15 12:29:05 UTC
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On Saturday, 15 September 2018 01:49:56 UTC+1, John Varela wrote:
> On Fri, 14 Sep 2018 14:15:12 UTC, Jerry Friedman
> <***@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> > On 9/14/18 7:14 AM, Yurui Liu wrote:
> > > Peter T. Daniels 2018 9 14 UTC+8 8 48 42 :
> > >> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 8:41:49 AM UTC-4, Yurui Liu wrote:
> > >>> Peter T. Daniels 2018 9 14 UTC+8 8 32 21 :
> > >>>> On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:12:32 AM UTC-4, Yurui Liu wrote:
> > >>
> > >>>>> Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that we
> > >>>>> say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat is bigger
> > >>>>> than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a person's size with an object's.
> > >>>>> But I saw the following sentence in a dictionary. Is it natural
> > >>>>> and correct?
> > >>>>> The quality of pork is often less variable than beef.
> > >>>> It is not acceptable Standard Written English.
> > >>>> Is it a dictionary of colloquial expressions?
> > >>>
> > >>> It's a leaner's dictionary. Are you suggesting the said example
> > >>> is acceptable in colloquial English?
> > >>
> > >> What would "acceptable" mean in reference to colloquial speech? As everyone
> > >> has pointed out, it occurs.
> > >
> > >
> > > Is it as common as "John's hat is bigger than Peter"?
>
> I would be content with an 's added to Peter. "John's hat is bigger
> than Peter's."
>
> > That's rare, probably non-existent. However, "... this zucchini dip is
> > a spin on the popular baba ghanoush. Its texture is a lot like artichoke
> > dip." strikes me an unsurprising. The difference must be semantic, but
> > I can't put my finger on it now. Maybe because "texture" is abstract?
>
> And similarly, "Its texture is a lot like artichoke dip's."
>
> > Many, probably most English speakers make these shifts in comparisons
> > all the time, and no native speaker has any trouble understanding them.
>
> There are lots of usage errors that don't block understanding. That
> doesn't mean they aren't errors.
>

Yeah it does. The only sustainable meaning of 'grammatical error' requires
that there is a deficit in or complete loss of comprehensibility. Otherwise
it's just innovation and, in the case of useful or elegant innovations, merely
the first step to common practice. "A texture like artichoke dip' is, I would
suggest, long past the innovation and not far short of a perfectly normal
construction.
CDB
2018-09-14 16:36:56 UTC
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On 9/14/2018 9:14 AM, Yurui Liu wrote:
> Peter T. Daniels:
>> Yurui Liu wrote:
>>> Peter T. Daniels:
>>>> Yurui Liu wrote:

>>>>> Typically, we compare two entities of the same sort, so that
>>>>> we say "John's hat is bigger than Peter's," not "John's hat
>>>>> is bigger than Peter" unless, of course, we are comparing a
>>>>> person's size with an object's. But I saw the following
>>>>> sentence in a dictionary. Is it natural and correct? The
>>>>> quality of pork is often less variable than beef.
>>>> It is not acceptable Standard Written English. Is it a
>>>> dictionary of colloquial expressions?

>>> It's a leaner's dictionary. Are you suggesting the said example
>>> is acceptable in colloquial English?

>> What would "acceptable" mean in reference to colloquial speech? As
>> everyone has pointed out, it occurs.

> Is it as common as "John's hat is bigger than Peter"?

No. The quality of a kind of meat is more intimately related to the
meat than Peter's hat is to Peter. That makes one mistake easier to
overlook than the other.
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