incomplete comparison


how to review the section below to avoid incomplete comparison

See example:

This study seeks to investigate from teachers experiences in teaching English second language learners using English as a medium of instruction whether the bilingualism that is promoted by South African language policy is effectively implemented to achieve higher educational outcomes in our education system.
asked Nov 01 '12 at 13:15 Patrick Mweli New member

1 answer


As a strict rule, whenever you use a comparative word -- higher, better, more -- you should also explain "than" what in the same sentence. Often, however, the comparison is explained by the context, and the strict rule seems nitpicky.


In your sentence, the problem can be "fixed" by using a different, non-comparative, word -- perhaps, "improved".


Your sentence, however, has another, more basic problem. It is too long and  too wordy. I struggle to read and comprehend what is being said. Your sentence has 45 words. Good concise writing wants to average around 17.5 words per sentence (with a high of around 30 words). Academic writing may get as high as 22.5 words per sentence (with a high of 35 words in the longest sentence). Consider either trimming words or breaking your sentence into two.

Another part of the issue is the overuse of propositional and infinitive phrases -- one strung after the other. In the following, I will use () to indicate infinitive phrases and <> to indicate prepositional phrases.


This study seeks (to investigate) <from teachers experiences> <in teaching English second language learners using English <as a medium> <of instruction> whether the bilingualism that is promoted <by South African language policy> is effectively implemented (to achieve) higher educational outcomes <in our education system.>


As an editorial guideline, the Chicago Manual of Style recommends that preposition usage be between seven and ten percent of the total words in the text. In your sentence, prepositions represent 13.3% (if infinitive noun phrases are included, 17.7%). You need to strive to use fewer such phrases.


Teachers should be the plural possessive --> teachers'


I hope this helps.

link comment edited Nov 01 '12 at 14:56 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

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