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It seems that most conventional examples of comparative correlative, e.g.

The further you go, the harder it gets.

can be transformed in the following way:

It gets (the) harder[,] the further you go.

Another example (a simplification of what I need for my text):

The smaller the size of the object, the greater its index.

The index of the object is the greater[,] the smaller that object's size is.

My questions are:

  1. Are the second versions still comparative correlatives?
  2. Either way, are the commas in brackets needed there?
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  • Perhaps your "transformations" might help you to understand the comparative correlative construction, but they're not idiomatic. So it's not really relevant to ask whether the commas would be required or not (but "in principle", they would be required, because they would reflect necessary pauses in speech). Apr 18, 2021 at 16:28
  • @FumbleFingers the thing is, it is this "transformed" construction that I want to use because I believe it fits my text situation better, whether or not such use is idiomatic. I could instead just supply my actual sentence, but I think this wouldn't be as generally useful and hence not in the spirit of a Q&A forum. I didn't understand your point on "relevance", though. I can see how labelling a non-idiomatic use may be irrelevant, but commas? Apr 18, 2021 at 16:38
  • @FumbleFingers what's non-idiomatic about "it gets harder the further you go"? Apr 18, 2021 at 17:03
  • Yes: your suggested alternants are correlatives that have the subordinate clause in end position, whereas your originals have it in front position, which is very much the more common version. Generally, a comma is used in the latter kind, but not the former.
    – BillJ
    Apr 18, 2021 at 17:05
  • I meant it's not idiomatic to include the ("to be paralleled") article the in your transformations. Which by extension means that those transformations themselves are somewhat less "parallel" when rephrased (so they're not really such good examples of the comparative correlative construction under consideration). Apr 18, 2021 at 17:40

1 Answer 1

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[1a] [The further] you go, [the harder] it gets.

[1b] It gets [harder] [the further] you go.

[2a] [The smaller] the size of the object, [the greater] its index.

[2b] The index of the object is [greater] [the smaller] that object's size is.

The paired correlative phrases are bracketed.

Yes: your suggested alternants (the b. examples) are correlatives. They have the subordinate clause in end position, whereas your originals (the a. examples) have it in front position, which is very much the more common version.

Generally, a comma is used in the a type, but not the b type.

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