3

I came across the following sentence structure:

But 15‐year‐olds, on average, probably take more risks than adults do.

I would rather write

But 15‐year‐olds, on average, probably take more risks than adults.

Is my version wrong or are both equivalent variants? If the latter, is one version preferable?

  • 1
    I don't think it matters all that much, but I love your question's title. – J.R. Sep 13 '18 at 8:42
  • If they are just variants, that would be a helpful/accepted/upvoted answer as well. – Mr. T Sep 13 '18 at 8:45
  • 1
    I hope you won't just accept the first answer that comes along. My gut instinct tells me it's just a stylistic preference, but if you wait long enough, you may get a more educated opinion that explains the matter a little deeper. – J.R. Sep 13 '18 at 8:47
  • I myself prefer the first version. It roughly means that 15-years-old take more risks than the risks that adults take. Your version is not wrong though. – holydragon Sep 13 '18 at 8:48
1

It is a matter of preference, both are acceptable. In written form though I prefer your version:

But 15‐year‐olds, on average, probably take more risks than adults.

I think extra words creep in more often in spoken English when people are thinking on the fly and speaking extemporaneously because they are thinking more about making each part of the sentence make sense rather than visualising it as a whole as you do when writing.

Perhaps if you'd said:

On average, adults don't take as many risks as 15‐year‐olds do.

This seems more natural, because your "do" counters the "don't". But as it stands you are speaking about "taking" risks. You could write...

But 15‐year‐olds, on average, probably take more risks than adults take.

... but this seems even more bloated to me, and I'd bet that more people would agree the extra word is unnecessary in this sentence than in your original example. When you think about it though, there is very little difference. So I agree with you, lose the "do".

  • 1
    Good answer that covers my gut feeling about extra words that unnecessarily complicate sentences. I wouldn't primarily mind it in the sample sentence, but the author used it in sentences that did not stop with the auxiliary verb. This often made it difficult for me to read because there were suddenly ambiguities what the "do/did" referred to. "The group X had significantly lower values than the group Y did in both experiments." What? What did group Y do in both experiments? I am able to understand it, but it takes two or three attempts, before I notice, what the "do" refers to. – Mr. T Sep 13 '18 at 9:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.