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"the roads in Delhi are better than Mumbai". i have seen this sentence in a newspaper which said the above sentence was not correct. please explain is it right or wrong?

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  • Can you provide a link to the source? They might have meant the statement was untrue. But if they thought there was something "incorrect" about the grammar/syntax, they simply don't know what they're talking about. It's idiomatically and syntactically perfectly natural English. Feb 14, 2018 at 16:35

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Presumably the intent of this sentence is to say that the roads in Delhi are better than the roads in Mumbai. But technically, it doesn't say "the roads in Mumbai", but just "Mumbai". So by strict grammar, the sentence says that the ROADS in Delhi are better than the CITY of Mumbai. Which doesn't seem like a very meaningful comparison. The writer really should have said, "The roads in Delhi are better than the roads in Mumbai", or "The roads in Delhi are better than those in Mumbai", etc.

In this case I doubt readers would be confused. But consider this very similar construction:

"The largest city in the United States has more people than France." That is not at all the same as, "The largest city in the United States has more people than the largest city in France." The first sentence compares the population of one city to an entire country; the second compares one city to one city.

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That's fine. As an English native, my understanding of the sentence is that the roads in Delhi are preferable in some way to those in Mumbai. The sentence sounds right.

The criticism could have come from

  1. There is no preposition before Mumbai, "than in Mumbai", or "the roads of Delihi".
  2. There is no reference to what is better, the traffic or the general quality of the roads themselves, ie pot holes.
  3. What does better mean? In better condition, better maintained?

But that aside, it's a general statement that the roads are overall in better shape, so yes, the sentence is fine.

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  • The sentence would be understood, as you indicate, but the 'best' English would be "The roads in Delhi are better than those in Mumbai.". Feb 14, 2018 at 15:58
  • yes that's good, can't remember what "those" is referred to, something like the "direct subject" or indirect object or something? Feb 14, 2018 at 16:07
  • @Jeff Zeitlin: I'd say that's a pretty creative use of the word "best". I can't even say your rewrite is "the most explicit" or "most verbose" phrasing, since it could have been more fully "expanded" into The roads in Delhi are better than the roads in Mumbai. Feb 14, 2018 at 16:39

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