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Is this statement construction correct?

"I do understand [w], [x] and [y] much better than I do [z]."

I just wanted to know if this statement is correctly constructed. Here w, x, y and z variables are plurals. Suggest me better options.

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  • Just get rid of the first 'do' and it looks ok at first glance. You could change the second 'do' to understand, but that might be weird depending how long W, X, Y are.
    – Smock
    Aug 12, 2019 at 8:30

1 Answer 1

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Although it's constructed correctly, the repetition of the I do phrase is somewhat unnatural.

The following would be better alternatives:

I understand [w], [x] and [y] much better than I understand [z].

There is no real reason to use do in either location here.

I understand [w], [x] and [y] much better than I understand [z].
→ I understand [w], [x] and [y] much better than [z].

You can also remove the repetition of I understand; the sentence will remain understandable because of its parallel construction.

I do understand [w], [x] and [y] much better than I do understand [z].
→ I do understand [w], [x] and [y] much better than [z].

Here, the first do is used, but also emphasized. It could be said in response to somebody who says you don't understand [w], [x], and [y], where the negation of their statement is emphasized.


Finally, there is another version that could be used:

I do understand [w], [x] and [y] much better than I do understand [z].
→ I understand [w], [x] and [y] much better than I do [z].

Here, in an odd use of parallelism and elision, one of the words is omitted from the first part of the sentence, while a different word is omitted from the second part of the sentence.

Normally this doesn't happen. I can't explain why it's done in this case, aside from just saying it is, and it sounds natural because of that.


In summary, the original sentence is constructed correctly, but it's not completely idiomatic:

? I do understand [w], [x] and [y] much better than I do [z].

The following are all more natural sounding versions:

✔ I understand [w], [x] and [y] much better than I understand [z].
✔ I understand [w], [x] and [y] much better than [z].
✔ I do understand [w], [x] and [y] much better than [z].
✔ I understand [w], [x] and [y] much better than I do [z].

Which of those should actually be used is a matter of personal opinion.

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  • HI there, Thank you for your brief input! Suppose here [z] is word 'peoples' or any other creature as noun, but not as object, then your 2nd version might be perceived as wrong, which shall indicate straight comparison between that 'I' and 'peoples or any person'. What would you suggest for that? Aug 12, 2019 at 11:59
  • @UddeshyaK. The basic construction here is not wrong. But if the variables are replaced by actual words, it's always possible that one of those words would make the sentence ungrammatical regardless of its structure. (There is an essentially endless number of sentences that could be possible, each needing to be analyzed separately.) But in this new example, we would almost certainly say people, not peoples. And that doesn't seem to invalidate any of the sentences. It's saying that you understand [some things] much better than you understand people, which is fine. Aug 12, 2019 at 16:00

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