2

Someone is trying to solve problems, but the number of problems they're causing is more than that they're solving.

Can you say either of these?

(1) You're causing more problems than you're solving.

(2) You're causing more problems than you're solving problems.

I think (1) is grammatical, but is (2) grammatical as well?

Now, how about these sentence?

(3) You're causing more problems for yourself than you're solving for me.

(4) You're causing more problems for yourself than you're solving problems for me.

I think (3) is grammatical, although not terribly natural.

Is (4) grammatical?

5
  • The problems you cause (you are causing) are more than that you solve (you are solving)
    – Ram Pillai
    Sep 2, 2020 at 1:41
  • You are causing problems for you rather than solving it/them for me. Since the key issue is with the verbs 'causing' and 'solving', rather than or rather...than should work better. It is rather about the verb(s) than about the number.
    – Ram Pillai
    Sep 2, 2020 at 1:44
  • Simply: (1) and (3) are correct, (2) and (4) are not.
    – BadZen
    Jul 29, 2023 at 2:41
  • @RamPillai - Your suggestion is totally ungrammatical, please do not write or say that.
    – BadZen
    Jul 29, 2023 at 2:41
  • All four sentences are grammatical, but #2 and #4 are not idiomatic. They're clunky and repeat words that a native speaker would normally omit (which you've recognized by putting those words in boldface).
    – TimR
    Aug 29, 2023 at 18:56

4 Answers 4

1

Ordinarily, 1) and 3) would be the preferred usages. It's the way most people would speak. However, 2) and 4) are not actually ungrammatical, and they might sometimes be used.

That time is when the speaker is making it clear that the listener needs to pay attention. The deliberate repetition of "more problems for ..." means that the speaker is speaking very clearly for someone he suspects has not been paying attention. It suggests that the speaker is severely annoyed.

0

1) - You're causing more problems than you're solving.

In comparatives like this, there is no need to repeat the direct object. In fact, repeating it is awkward (and I'd call it a grammar mistake).

  • He's catching more fish these days than he's eating.

Whereas: For 2), - You're causing more problems than you're solving problems.

Don't you mean: You're causing problems **more than solving problems (or them).**?

There, the focus is on the verbs, not the noun: cause problems and solve problems. More than is not a comparative. It means: rather than, instead of. It is a conjunction or preposition phrase (depending on your school of grammar).

3) is OK, as is 1)

4) Suffers from the a similar issue as 2). 2) repeats the object and 4) repeats the subject and verb.

4) You're causing more problems for yourself than you're solving problems for me.

Don't you mean: You're causing problems for yourself more than you're solving problems for me.?

Better would be, for 4)

You're causing more problems for yourself than solving them for me.

There is no need to repeat the subject and auxiliary verb (you're) as it is the same in both clauses.

8
  • Nope, I don't mean 'rather than'. I mean "The number of problems you're causing (for yourself) is more than that of problems you're solving (for me)."
    – listeneva
    Mar 19, 2019 at 1:45
  • @listneva Ok then, say it that way because 2) with the repetition of the object is not grammatical. Only 1) and 3) are right.
    – Lambie
    Mar 19, 2019 at 15:14
  • Are you sure 4 is ungrammatical?
    – listeneva
    Mar 20, 2019 at 0:53
  • @listenevaI It suffers from some limitations as does 2). There is no need to repeat the subject. I have amended my answer.
    – Lambie
    Mar 20, 2019 at 14:30
  • 1
    Note that my question is whether 2 and 4 are grammatical. You seem to say 2 is ungrammatical because it repeats the direct object, and that 4 is ungrammatical because it repeats you're. If repeating you're makes 4 ungrammatical, how come you don't object to repeating you're in 2? Also, if repeating the direct object makes 2 ungrammatical, how come you don't object to repeating the direct object (them) in your version of 4?
    – listeneva
    Mar 21, 2019 at 2:14
0

Simply: (1) and (3) are correct, (2) and (4) are not.

Do not ordinarily repeat the object of the verb in a comparative clause with the same SVO.

-1

I find the present simple tense is more suitable than the present continuous since you are not talking about their case at that moment, but in general and as a "fact" or "nature of that person" who causes problems.

If we assumed that your four sentences are in present simple them they are grammatically correct. But the first and third sentence seem more natural than the second and fourth one as there is no need for repeating "problems" twice.

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