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Thread: Preferable

  1. #1
    Jackamo Guest

    Default Preferable

    While reviewing text in an online course, I was confused by the usage of the the phrase "is preferable than". I could not find a reference to the proper use of "preferable than" and "preferable to". Could you please identify a reference source that could resolve this issue?
    Jack

  2. #2
    Donbelid's Avatar
    Donbelid is offline Member
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    Default Re: Preferable

    "be + preferable + to" is frequently used in English. Sources? All dictionaries.

    I've never heard of "be + preferable + than", but it seems correct, because preferable means "more desirable". I also want to make sure...! tdol has the last words I think.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Preferable

    What's the context? That is, could you give us the sentence?

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    Default Re: Preferable

    The course is discussing Java Servlet applications and the direct text is "Using a controller is preferable than embedding code in multiple views because that may lead to an error-prone environment."

    There are a host of examples for the "be + preferable + to" but I know that "be + preferable + than" is appropriate in certain contexts. I was wondering if there was a 'rule of thumb' that might make it easier to relate to others.

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    Default Re: Preferable

    Welcome, Jackamo.

    Hmm. Consider what's not there. "than" is a comparative. It goes hand-in-hand with "more":

    Using a controller is more preferable than . . .

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    Default Re: Preferable

    Excellent point.
    Is it acceptable to use 'half' of an irregular comparitive. To me the text seems clumsy and draws the reader from the content to the form.

    And thank you for the welcome.

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    Default Re: Preferable

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackamo
    Is it acceptable to use 'half' of an irregular compar[a]tive.
    'is preferable than' is ungrammatical.

    Possible reasons for the error: omitting "more"
    [1] It's a typographical error. The writer needs a proof-reader.
    [2] It's a language error. The speaker inserts any suffixed-formed adjective here: be + ______ + than; e.g., given the structure "is bigger than", therefore, by analogy, *"is preferable than."

    All the best.
    Last edited by Casiopea; 10-Apr-2006 at 16:51.

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    Default Re: Preferable

    Since 'preferable' means 'better or more suitable' could it be that the speaker thought it superflous to use more in front of the word 'preferable'?

  9. #9
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Preferable

    Hello Queenbu

    Yes, it's quite possible that the speaker/writer thought that, since "preferable" contains an implicit comparison, "than" was the correct introduction to the second part.

    But my money's on a last-minute edit: perhaps changing "better" to "preferable", and forgetting to amend the "than".

    MrP

    PS: I should add that "preferable than" sounds very strange to me.

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    Default Re: Preferable

    As an example of an appropriate use, wouldn't having a steadfast rule for these issues 'be more preferable than' the current confusion?

    Jackamo

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