# “Compare A With B”?

•  1

Hello, everyone,

While working as a research fellow at Harvard, B. F. Skinner carried out a series of experiments on rats, using an invention that later became known as a “Skinner box.” A rat was placed in one of these boxes, which had a special bar fitted on the inside. Every time the rat pressed this bar, it was presented with food. The rate of bar-pressing was automatically recorded. Initially, the rat might press the bar accidentally, or simply out of curiosity, and as a consequence receive some food. Over time, the rat learned that food appeared whenever the bar was pressed, and began to press it purposefully in order to be fed. Comparing results from rats the “positive reinforcement” of food for their bar-pressing behavior with those that were not, or were presented with food at different rates, it became clear that when food appeared as a consequence of the rat’s actions, this influenced its future behavior.

*source;

I have a question – why didn’t the writer write, “ ~ with those(=results) from those(=rats) that were not ~ ” in above underlined part? I understand in English the comparison pattern needs the same comparing noun strictly by using the proper pronoun as per the sentence;

* The population of Paris is bigger than that of New York or London.

Maybe, do the writers sometimes leave out the repeating noun - “results from” for simple structure in such a pattern – “compare A with B”?

Would hope to hear,

I have a question – why didn’t the writer write, “ ` with those(=results) from those(=rats) that were not `” in above underlined part?

I think you mean like this. Comparing results from rats that received the “positive reinforcement” with those (results) from those (rats)) that did not receive the “positive reinforcement”. . .

I understand in English the comparison pattern needs the same comparing noun strictly by using the proper pronoun as per the sentence; Yes

* The population of Paris is bigger than that of New York or London.

I think you mean eg The population of Paris is bigger than New York or London.

Maybe, do the writers sometimes leave out the repeating noun - “results from” for simple structure in such a pattern – “compare A with B”? Yes. But it can result in sentences that confuse the reader.

In scholarly writing, eg about the experiments of Skinner, translation to another language can also contribute to this kind of confusion.

Clive

deepcosmosComparing results from rats the “positive reinforcement” of food

I just found I made a typo and above should read, "Comparing results from rats <given> the “positive reinforcement” of food . . ."

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CliveMaybe, do the writers sometimes leave out the repeating noun - “results from” for simple structure in such a pattern – “compare A with B”? Yes. But it can result in sentences that confuse the reader.

In "Comparing results from rats (given food) with results from those (rats) that were not (given food), .." if we leave out "results from", will such an abbreviation be too much in this pattern and make this sentence ungrammatical?

Instead of focussing on diminishing degrees of grammatical correctness, you should consider questions like these.

What degree of precision do I need here?

Will my reader be able to understand my intended meaning from what I have written?

Clive

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Clive

Please also try to answer the 3 questions I posed to you in my last post.

Clive

CliveInstead of focussing on diminishing degrees of grammatical correctness, you should consider questions like these.What degree of precision do I need here?Will my reader be able to understand my intended meaning from what I have written?Who are my readers?

Hi, Clive,

Thanks for your unique questions, which is the first one to me as EFL learner so far. While I agree with your 3 points above, I teach English grammar to students, which always drives me to concern at first if the usage is formal/informal, grammatical/ungrammatical, and prescriptive/descriptive, etc., when I see any problem in question.

Since I'm a bit strict on the prescriptive grammar, I assume the underlined part should read, "Comparing results from rats given the “positive reinforcement” of food for their bar-pressing behavior with those(=results) from ones(=rats) that were not, . . .".

However, I'm always ready and trying to learn from the educated natives.

Yes.

Cive

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