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  1. You can build a better company than he ever did.

  2. You can build a company better than he ever did.

I know # 1 works, but does #2 work as well?

If #2 works, does it mean the same thing as #1?

Finally, in #1, is 'than he ever did' part of the noun phrase 'a better company than he ever did'?

How about, in #2? Is 'than he ever did' part of the noun phrase 'a company better than he ever did'?

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#2 works as well but it has a different meaning to #1.

#1 means that you can build a company which is better than the company (or companies) that he built.

#2 means that your ability to build companies surpasses his.

Neither of the follow up questions are part of the noun phrases.

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  • In #1, 'than he ever did' is a complement of the adjective 'better', which in turn is a modifier of 'company'. Then, how come 'than he ever did' is not part of the noun phrase?
    – listeneva
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 12:00

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