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    #1

    rather than

    He watched TV rather than ___ his homework. (A) did (B) do (C) doing
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    I think all the three choices are correct. My reason is as follows. Am I right?
    Rather than has three meanings.
    1. more readily than, in preference to
    They obeyed the order rather than suffer torture or death. Fronting is permitted.
    Rather than suffer torture or death they obeyed the order.
    2. and not
    She telephoned rather than wrote. Fronting is not permitted.
    In the end hesurvives rather than conquers. Fronting is not permitted.
    3. instead of (+Ving)
    Their actions precipated the war rather than averting it. Fronting is permitted.
    _________________
    Thank you very much for your reply.
    Last edited by sitifan; 04-Aug-2008 at 14:37.

  1. Soup's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: rather than

    He watched TV rather than ___ his homework.

    (A) did <parallel; Last night, he watched TV rather than did his homework.>
    (B) do <but, Rather than do his homework, he watched TV. >
    (C) doing <but, He watched TV instead of doing his homework.>
    Rather than can also be used with nouns as a compound preposition meaning “instead of”: I bought a mountain bike rather than [buying] a ten-speed. But some people object to this use, insisting that than should be used only as a conjunction. They therefore object to constructions in which rather than is followed by a gerund, as in Rather than buying a new car, I kept my old one.

    Clearly, it is grammatically defensible to follow rather than with a gerund, but if you prefer to avoid the controversy, use instead of with gerunds.
    ________________________________

    We ought to invest in new machinery rather than [invest in] buildings. (elliptical verb phrase)

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: rather than

    Quote Originally Posted by sitifan View Post
    He watched TV rather than ___ his homework. (A) did (B) do (C) doing
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    I think all the three choices are correct. My reason is as follows. Am I right?
    Rather than has three meanings.
    1. more readily than, in preference to
    They obeyed the order rather than suffer torture or death. Fronting is permitted.
    Rather than suffer torture or death they obeyed the order.
    2. and not
    She telephoned rather than wrote. Fronting is not permitted.
    In the end hesurvives rather than conquers. Fronting is not permitted.
    3. instead of (+Ving)
    Their actions precipated the war rather than averting it. Fronting is permitted.
    _________________
    Thank you very much for your reply.
    Soup is right, of course. However I would say:
    "He watched TV rather than doing his homework." Obviously if only some people object to this, others don't, and consider it normal. In Australia, this would be normal.
    You're also right in that "rather than" can be followed by any of the three forms you've identified but remember that "rather than" has a few different meanings. For example, "He watched TV rather than do his homework." sounds wrong to both Soup and me. That is because it has the meaning of 2. or 3. of your above meanings.
    If you write a sentence analogous in meaning to 1. it sounds right (to me):
    "He went without dinner rather than do his homework".

    PS: Having answered a few threads now on "rather than", I agree with the advice to avoid it, and use "instead of" instead.
    Last edited by Raymott; 04-Aug-2008 at 17:50. Reason: Add a PS

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