Skip to main content

Reply to "did - had"

Hi, Gustavo,

It is great to see your enlightening comments here again. I was getting worried about your absence for some time and was about to ask David's permission to allow me to send you an e-mail to make sure that you are OK.

While the subject in the main clause is restricted or qualified by "fewer," it is not in the comparative clause ("all" children and mothers) and, as a result, the comparison does not work.

Yes, I understand what David meant here and I agree that its formation isn't a good one, but I was just trying to find any logical solution to have such a sentence in one of our school books, particularly it is revised by Longman Publishing Company.

My view is that some focus should be placed on the quantitative value of "fewer" so that it ceases to be a mere determiner in the NP "fewer children and mothers."  I think these would work (what do you think?):

- Children and mothers who have/having health problems are fewer now than they were 100 years ago.


- There are fewer children and mothers who have/having health problems now than there were 100 years ago.

They are perfect, of course, but I have another idea. What do you think of it?

- Now fewer children and mothers have health problems than ever before (at any time in the past).