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    #1

    rather than

    Dear teachers,
    I have asked the question before and I thought I understood it until I read a sentence in my newly-bought dictionary. So I have to ask the question again. I'll devide the question into two parts. Part One is the question I asked last time and the answers I got last time. Part Two is my question this time.

    Part One:The question and the explanation I got last time were as follows:

    Rather than ______trouble, he left.
    a. cause b. to cause c. causing d. caused

    "Rather than" can be a conjunction or a preposition. As a conjunction it means "and not", as "in shaken rather than stirred". It is that use that calls for parallel items. In this case, "rather than" is a preposition calling for a noun object. Choice a is the best; it is a bare infinitive noun. I would also say that choice c is correct; that would be a gerund noun. The only reason to choose a over c is that an infinitive is often used for potential action and a gerund is often used for actual action. Since this action has not occurred, the infinitive would be more idiomatic.


    If 'rather than' is put at the beginning of a sentence then it is a preposition. If it is put in the middle of a sentence then it is a conjunction and then paralleled structure is required.
    So if I write the sentence 'He left rather than caused trouble' it is correct. If I put 'rather than ' at the beginning then it should be ' Rather than cause trouble he left'.

    1. He left rather than caused trouble. (Not OK)

    1. He would rather run than walk. (OK. Comparative Adverb meaning, 'instead of' or 'a choice expressing a more likely alternative. Note the structure: rather Infinitive Verb than Infinitive Verb)

    2. Rather than walk (to the store), he ran. (OK. Adverb; Note, rather than DO something - infintive verb e.g. DO, go, sleep, shop, etc.)

    3a. Rather than cause trouble, he left. (OK, 'Rather than cause trouble' functions as an adverb phrase. It tells us the reason 'He left'.)

    3b. He left rather than caused trouble. (Not OK; Comparative Adverb. 'left' and 'cause trouble', although both are verbs, do not pair semantically; they express a cause & effect relationship: He left because he did not want to cause trouble).

    3c. He ran rather than walked (to the store, like he said he would). (OK. Comparative Adverb. Notice that 'ran' and 'walk' pair semantically).
    Mike



    Part Two: However, in my Longman Dictionary there is a sentence.

    instead of someone or something else: Rather than squeezing your own oranges, have you tried buying packs of orange juice?

    Could you please explain why 'squeezing' is used here? Is it because the action of 'squeeze' already took place?
    And please read the following sentence:
    Instead of : I think you'd call it a lecture rather than a talk.
    If I put 'rather than' at the beginning of the sentence it should be:
    Rather than call it a talk you'd call it a lecture'. Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Last edited by jiang; 06-Dec-2006 at 13:13.

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    #2

    Re: rather than

    Part 2
    Yes, the person is in the habit of squeezing the own oranges. Your second example is also correct.

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    #3

    Re: rather than

    &
    Dear Tdol,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. Now I understand this sentence. However, I came across other examples which confused me.
    The grammar book reads:
    When the main clause has an infinitive, rather than can be followed by an infinitive with to; an -ing form is also possible.
    I believe it is important to invest in new machinery rahter than to increase wages. ( Or: ...increasing wages.)
    We ought to check up, rahter than just accept what he says. ( Or: ...accepting what he says.)
    According to this whether it is an habit of doing sth or not -ing form can be used. This is really beyond me. Could you please kindly explain it to me?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Part 2
    Yes, the person is in the habit of squeezing the own oranges. Your second example is also correct.


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    #4

    Re: rather than

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    &
    Dear Tdol,
    Thank you very much for your explanation. Now I understand this sentence. However, I came across other examples which confused me.
    The grammar book reads:
    When the main clause has an infinitive, rather than can be followed by an infinitive with to; an -ing form is also possible.
    I believe it is important to invest in new machinery rahter than to increase wages. ( Or: ...increasing wages.)
    We ought to check up, rahter than just accept what he says. ( Or: ...accepting what he says.)
    According to this whether it is an habit of doing sth or not -ing form can be used. This is really beyond me. Could you please kindly explain it to me?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    I think you have come up with a question here that is not obvious for native speakers to decide upon, Jiang .

    A1) "Rather than cause trouble, he left."
    A2) "Rather than causing trouble, he left."

    A1 is correct. A2 is definitely incorrect, in my opinion. I think Mike was wrong here.

    Compare the equivalent sentence in the conditional form (which does not affect the essential grammar of the original):
    "He would rather have left than cause trouble."

    It is obviously ungrammatical to say: "He would rather have left than causing trouble." So, it is also ungrammatical in the original sentence.

    Under what circumstances then can you say 'causing trouble'? Again in my opinion, only in the following sentences:

    "I decided to leave rather than causing trouble."
    "I decided (that) leaving rather than causing trouble was the best option."

    The first is equally as grammatical as (but not as common as):
    "I decide to leave rather than cause trouble."

    The second is equally as grammatical as (but more common than):
    "I decided that the best option was to leave rather than causing trouble."

    So, my advice is to forget the gerund, and always use the infinitive form. I don't believe you will ever be wrong (although I am willing to be corrected), and you will make life easier for yourself.

    In your dictionary example, 'squeezing' is better than 'squeeze' because it fits better with 'buying', but 'squeeze' is not wrong.

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    #5

    Re: rather than

    &
    Dear Coffa,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. I think I began to understand it now. I'd like to interpret what you explained to me to make sure that I understood it.

    No.1
    'So, my advice is to forget the gerund, and always use the infinitive form. I don't believe you will ever be wrong (although I am willing to be corrected), and you will make life easier for yourself.'
    This will really be easy for me. Could you please tell me if you mean we should always use the infinitive form whether the action actually took place or not?

    No.2
    In your dictionary example, 'squeezing' is better than 'squeeze' because it fits better with 'buying', but 'squeeze' is not wrong.
    May I say the sentence should have been written this way:
    Have you tried buying packs of orange juice rather than squeezing your own oranges?
    I got different answers from you and Tdol and Mike before this. This is too hard for me. I believe whatever you say since you are native speakers. But I don't know what to do when you differ.
    No.3
    The grammar book reads:
    When the main clause has an infinitive, rather than can be followed by an infinitive with to; an -ing form is also possible.
    I believe it is important to invest in new machinery rahter than to increase wages. ( Or: ...increasing wages.)
    We ought to check up, rahter than just accept what he says. ( Or: ...accepting what he says.)
    According to what you explained I think I should use the former instead of the ones in brackets. Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    I think you have come up with a question here that is not obvious for native speakers to decide upon, Jiang .

    A1) "Rather than cause trouble, he left."
    A2) "Rather than causing trouble, he left."

    A1 is correct. A2 is definitely incorrect, in my opinion. I think Mike was wrong here.

    Compare the equivalent sentence in the conditional form (which does not affect the essential grammar of the original):
    "He would rather have left than cause trouble."

    It is obviously ungrammatical to say: "He would rather have left than causing trouble." So, it is also ungrammatical in the original sentence.

    Under what circumstances then can you say 'causing trouble'? Again in my opinion, only in the following sentences:

    "I decided to leave rather than causing trouble."
    "I decided (that) leaving rather than causing trouble was the best option."

    The first is equally as grammatical as (but not as common as):
    "I decide to leave rather than cause trouble."

    The second is equally as grammatical as (but more common than):
    "I decided that the best option was to leave rather than causing trouble."

    So, my advice is to forget the gerund, and always use the infinitive form. I don't believe you will ever be wrong (although I am willing to be corrected), and you will make life easier for yourself.

    In your dictionary example, 'squeezing' is better than 'squeeze' because it fits better with 'buying', but 'squeeze' is not wrong.

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    #6

    Re: rather than

    1 Yes- you could use 'squeeze' in the juice example.
    2 Yes, that sounds fine to me.
    3 Yes, using Coffa's logic, which makes sense, though the forms you give in brackets are also correct.

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    #7

    Re: rather than



    Dear Tdol,
    Thank you very much for your reply. Now I see. I have two questions to ask:

    No.1
    To sum up, may I conclude that when 'rather than' is put at the beginning of the sentence infinitive should be used. Otherwise, parallel structure is needed?
    No.2
    The grammar book reads:
    When the main clause has an infinitive, rather than can be followed by an infinitive with to; an -ing form is also possible.
    I believe it is important to invest in new machinery rahter than to increase wages. ( Or: ...increasing wages.)
    We ought to check up, rahter than just accept what he says. ( Or: ...accepting what he says.)
    Parallel structure is not needed here because the main clause has an infinitive. Otherwise, it needs parallel structure. Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    1 Yes- you could use 'squeeze' in the juice example.
    2 Yes, that sounds fine to me.
    3 Yes, using Coffa's logic, which makes sense, though the forms you give in brackets are also correct.

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    #8

    Re: rather than

    Isn't "Rather than causing trouble, he left." acceptable in informal speech?

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    #9

    Re: rather than

    I think so, but, as you can see, others think differently.

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    #10

    Re: rather than

    Because it's not acceptable in writing?

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