Skip to content

Comparative sentences with parts that don't match

I see this quite a lot, especially in American articles. Here is the latest, from the BMJ. It's in today's issue, in a leader titled "Time to question the NHS diabetes prevention programme". The sentence in question reads as follows.

Using HbA1c to identify non-diabetic hyperglycaemia defines twice as many people as "prediabetic" than does the gold standard but impractical glucose tolerance test.

If you have "as" in the first part of a comparison you must continue with "as" in the second part; you can't have "than". So the sentence should have read "defines twice as many people as "prediabetic" as does the gold standard ..."

Admittedly the revised version is ugly, with "as" repeated three times. The author could have avoided that by restructuring the sentence, perhaps like this: "Using HbA1c to identify "prediabetes" results in too many false positives compared with the gold standard but impractical oral glucose tolerance test, which finds only half as many cases."


No Trackbacks


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

No comments

Add Comment

Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.
Form options

Submitted comments will be subject to moderation before being displayed.