In England it isn’t so cold as in Russia.

England isn’t so cold as Russia.

It's not so cold in England as it is in Russia.

Are all of the sentences fine? As I understand it, the third version is the best one from the point of view of English grammar. Is it possible to use some shorter versions? It seems to me that the second version is awkward, or it has a double meaning.

  • 3
    The first version is "weird", but I can't see the point in trying to figure out whether it's "ungrammatical" or just "non-idiomatic". The other two are both fine - use whichever you like. Jan 6, 2022 at 18:24
  • 1
    I think there is a word missing from the first one. Did you mean "In England it isn't so cold as in Russia" ?
    – Thruston
    Jan 6, 2022 at 18:38
  • 1
    If you want it shorter, try stating it the other way round: "Russia is colder than England".
    – Thruston
    Jan 6, 2022 at 18:39
  • 1
    @Thruston: Precisely my point! I don't think there's anything to be gained by attempting to draw a line between with dummy "it" (unquestionably "valid") and without dummy "it" (opinions may vary, and it seems unlikely there will be a relevant formally-defined "rule" for this exact context). Jan 6, 2022 at 18:45
  • 1
    Does "In England it isn't so cold as in Russia" sound good?
    – Sergei
    Jan 6, 2022 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


All three sentences are good grammar, and have almost identical meaning.

The 1st and 3rd sentences are identical in meaning, and refer only to the air temperature. Without any context, the 2nd sentence also has that meaning, but in the right context, it could mean that Russian people or some subset of them, like the government, are colder than their English counterparts in one or both of the following senses:

2 a : marked by a lack of the warmth of normal human emotion, friendliness, or compassion
b : not colored or affected by personal feeling or bias : detached, indifferent

  • To my mind that could almost certainly apply to any of them.
    – WS2
    Jan 11, 2022 at 0:42

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