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Can I remove "do" from the below sentence? Does the meaning change?

Original: In a recent survey, Physical Fitness Weekly found that people exercising daily consider themselves no healthier than do people exercising three to five times a week.

EDIT: Can I delete "do" and rephrase the sentence as the following.

Corrected: In a recent survey, Physical Fitness Weekly found that people exercising daily consider themselves no healthier than people exercising three to five times a week.

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  • Can you show us the source of the original sentence and tell us who marked it corrected? Is it from the same book?
    – user24743
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 7:56

1 Answer 1

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If you remove do the meaning changes.

Both versions are talking about two groups of people:

  1. Those who exercise daily
  2. Those who exercise 3-5 times a week.

The original sentence has only one meaning: it is comparing how people in group 1 feel about themselves with how people in group 2 feel about themselves.

The "corrected" sentence is ambiguous: it has two possible interpretations. One interpretation is the same as the original sentence - that interpretation isn't quite right without do, but some people would take it that way. The other (and in my opinion more likely) interpretation is that people in group 1 are comparing themselves with people in group 2 (where people in group 2 were not asked for an opinion).

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    @Rathony - I think the first sentence is fine. It's not an uncommon construction. Than do people is equivalent to than people do. Some other examples in this question.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 8:00
  • @Rathony - In the original it is quite clear exactly what is being compared: how people exercising daily consider themselves is compared with how people exercising 3-5 times/week consider themselves.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 8:04
  • @nnnnnn I understand your answer. Can you please provide some correct and incorrect usage, as examples, of inversion in your main answer? So that I can accept your answer
    – ARYF
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 10:01
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    A real sentence in the wild: People in small towns and rural areas, he found, consider themselves no happier than do people living in big cities. "The Big City Has No Corner on Mental Illness" by Tim Hackler, The New York Times Magazine December 16, 1979. Commented May 27, 2016 at 12:48
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    In your case, it's the interpretation #2 in nnnnnn's answer. It's your opinion alone, not yours and your friend's in a survey or something. I think nnnnnn made this point clear enough in the answer. Commented May 27, 2016 at 17:12

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