Q. Choose the wrong sentence in the following sentences.
- Deep-sea habitats are as varied as those on land.
- Writing a novel is two times as difficult as I think.
- He looks three times as happy as I had seen.
- I love her as much as you.
- Several excuses are always less convincing than one.
I think option #3, "He looks three times as happy as I had seen", is probably, or should be, the "wrong sentence".
For it seems to be missing the 2nd time reference point in its comparison of when he looked happy. The other four options appear to be fine.
Here I'll go and explain a bit more why the individual options seem to be okay or not.
Option #1. Deep-sea habitats are as varied as those on land.
This appears to be fine. Two terms are being compared: "the variety of deep-sea habitats" versus "the variety of land habitats".
Option #2. Writing a novel is two times as difficult as I think.
This appears to be fine. Two terms are being compared: "the (actual) difficulty in writing a novel" versus "the difficulty that I think it takes to write a novel".
A possible context:
- If I was a young writer, I might think that I ought to be able to easily write a sci-fi novel in a year, but my parents might shake their heads in disagreement and say that that would take two years at least. And so, when I talk to a friend about this, I might say to that friend, "Writing a novel is two times as difficult as I think. That's what my parents keep telling me."
As a standalone sentence, option #2's sentence works too: the actual writing of a novel is X difficult, and I think writing a novel is Y difficult, and X is equal to 2Y.
Option #3. He looks three times as happy as I had seen.
This one seems to be malformed. And it seems to be the most awkward of all the options in the list.
Its problem seems to be that it doesn't mention within the second term (the comparative clause) a 2nd time that is being compared against. The 1st time that is being used in the comparison could be now, as in "He now looks happy", but there is no 2nd time of when he looked happy which could be used in the comparison. That is, in other words: He now (at time #1) looks X happy, and he used to (at time #2) look Y happy, and X is equal to 3Y -- but there is no mentioning of when that time #2 was.
Option #3's sentence could be tweaked into something that could work, such as "He looks three times as happy as when I had seen him last."
Option #4. I love her as much as you.
This appears to be fine, but perhaps it could be ambiguous as to how it should be interpreted, and context will probably disambiguate it. It could possibly be interpreted in two ways. One (1st) interpretation is,
- I love her as much as you do.
where the two terms are: "I love her" vs "You love her". Another possible (2nd) interpretation is,
- I love her as much as I love you.
where the two terms are: "I love her" vs "I love you". This 2nd interpretation of option #4 is structured similar to,
- "I love cookies as much as cupcakes."
Aside: Sometimes comparative constructions can be full of ambiguity, e.g. "She phoned Angela more often than Liz", which can be interpreted with the 2nd term being either "she phoned Liz" or as "Liz phoned her". (Example borrowed from CGEL page 1112, [20.v])
Option #5. Several excuses are always less convincing than one.
This appears to be fine. Two terms are being compared: "the convincing power of several excuses" versus "the convincing power of one excuse".