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Question on prepositions and comparisons

English Language & Usage Asked by Jimmy Bernstein on November 12, 2020

I ran into a grammar book that claims this sentence as incorrect:

Every year, more tourists travel to Disney World than the Louvre

They are saying it needs to be “…to the Louvre”.

Other sources say that second preposition is optional when saying something like

Martha was praised not only for her technique but also (for) her costume.

The only way the first book is correct is if contrasting comparisons are treated differently than comparisons noting a similarity.
Would appreciate any clarifications on who’s right?

One Answer

Based only on the grammar, the sentence is ambiguous. Without a preposition, it can be interpreted as

More tourists travel to Disney World than the Louvre travels to Disney World.

(There's a word or phrase for this type of ambiguity, but I can't remember it -- can someone help me with a comment?).

However, grammar isn't everything. This interpretation makes no sense, since the Louvre can't travel, and even if it could, it's just a single object so no one would compare its number to a large group of people.

Conversely, it's well known that both Disney World and the Louvre are tourist destinations. So the parallel is recognized intuitively, and repeating the preposition "to" is not really necessary, it can be elided and will be understood.

In order to remove all elision, you'd have to repeat "travel" as well, e.g.

Every year, more tourists travel to Disney World than travel to the Louvre.

Answered by Barmar on November 12, 2020

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