Please compare these 2 sentences.

1, lf you are overqualified for a particular job, you have more experience or training than __ is needed. (LDOCE)

source: https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/overqualified

2, The magnification is usually at least thirty times greater than what is normally seen with the naked eye. ( LDOCE)

source: https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/the-naked-eye

 

In sentence 1, there is a blank after "than", while, in a similar case, sentence 2, a "what" is put in that blank. I want to make sure if, in both of the the sentences above, a what is optional.

 

 A relevant sentence:

3, As (it) appears from her essay, she has read widely in
Romantic literature. (CGEL by Quirk et al)

Is "it" in this case optional?  

 

Original Post

Hi, Robby zhu,

Robby zhu posted:

Please compare these 2 sentences.

1, lf you are overqualified for a particular job, you have more experience or training than __ is needed. (LDOCE)

source: https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/overqualified

2, The magnification is usually at least thirty times greater than what is normally seen with the naked eye. ( LDOCE)

source: https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/the-naked-eye

 

In sentence 1, there is a blank after "than", while, in a similar case, sentence 2, a "what" is put in that blank. I want to make sure if, in both of the the sentences above, a what is optional.

I don't think both sentences are the same.

In (1), notice that you can even omit "is":

1'. lf you are overqualified for a particular job, you have more experience or training than needed.

This is because the elided noun phrase is "experience or training."

No such omission is possible in (2): The magnification is usually at least thirty times greater than normally seen with the naked eye.

This shows that "what" is required in sentence (2), as it does not refer to the noun "magnification" but to the thing whose size is magnified.

Robby zhu posted:

A relevant sentence:

3, As (it) appears from her essay, she has read widely in
Romantic literature. (CGEL by Quirk et al)

Is "it" in this case optional?

If I'm not mistaken, you need that "it." You can omit "it" in sentential relative constructions introduced by "as" with be and seem, but not with appear except in set clauses like as appears to be the case.

Robby zhu posted:

I think this construction is problematic for non native speakers.

Well, it depends on the academic level of the speaker, as is the case with any language.

Robby zhu posted:

Here is another sentence I wrote myself:

The treatment will be less effective than __  would be achieved with aspirin being added.

Is a "what" advisable´╝č

That sentence does not work, Robby zhu, because you are comparing the treatment with the results of another treatment. A treatment can be effective, but you don't "achieve a treatment" but, instead, "achieve certain results" by means of a treatment.

The "with aspirin being added" part sounds a little awkward to me. This would be a better sentence, in my opinion:

4. The results of the treatment will be less positive than would be achieved if aspirin were added.

I wouldn't like "what" to be inserted after "than" because "the results of the treatment" is too well defined as a noun phrase to be compared with indefinite "what." As an alternative to (4), you could say:

4'. The results of the treatment will be less positive than the ones/those that would be achieved if aspirin were added.

Thanks, Gustavo, actually I was trying to practice using the "by" structure, which had been discussed previously, but unfortunately, it seems inappropriate to be used here.

Is there a tendency that in simpler sentences, subjects are better to be inserted? For example:

5, The apple are fresher than __ were bought yesterday.

 

Robby zhu posted:

Is there a tendency that in simpler sentences, subjects are better to be inserted? For example:

5, The apple are fresher than __ were bought yesterday.

I don't understand your question. The sentence above does not work with the proposed reduction. You need to say:

6. The apples are fresher than the ones / those that were bought yesterday.

Robby zhu posted:

Perhaps rules on this detailed subject are difficult to find.

I know. This is the typical case where one has to find the rule by comparing examples. My first question is, why is this sentence incorrect?:

a. The apples are fresher than were bought yesterday.

I think it has to do with the lack of identity between the current apples and the ones bought yesterday.

My first impression is that, for "as" and "than" to work in reduced clauses, there must be actual or potential identity between the two things being compared.

b. lf you are overqualified for a particular job, you have more experience or training than (is) needed. (We are speaking about the same experience or training, whether actually possessed or potentially required.)

c. The results of the treatment will be less positive than would be achieved if aspirin were added. (We are speaking about the same treatment results, whether actually or potentially obtained.)

My second impression is that this reduction seems to work at all times when the clause refers back to the whole previous clause. In this case the verb "be" (if used in the reduced clause) will be in the singular, because reference is being made to some situation:

d. The students were better than (was) expected.

e. The results were as fine as (was) expected.

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