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I am a Canadian guy working for a Dutch institution, and I am often asked to correct people's English. A couple of years ago, I noticed that there was a strong trend to a (seemingly) new kind of comparative construction. Instead of saying, "response A was stronger than response B," for example, people would say, "response A was stronger COMPARED TO response B." My first reaction was just that this was a strange formulation that wasn't really used in English. I asked myself, "would I say, 'my sister is taller compared to me' instead of 'my sister is taller than I am?' Certainly not. Then I reasoned: "it's a redundant construction: the -er in 'taller' already means 'compared to' -- that's what comparatives are all about." So I routinely corrected all statements with a "comparative compared to" construction to more conventional English forms.

Then I noticed, though, that this type of construction was popping up more and more in the writing of first-language English speakers, especially when relatively complex technical topics were being discussed. A typical sentence would be something along the lines of "we found that levels of immunoglobulin A were higher in control mice examined after five days compared to (levels seen in) treatment mice examined after as long as 14 days." (The words in brackets or their equivalent would be present in perhaps 30% of examples). I could still easily reword these sentences to include a "than" or to say the more logical "high compared to" (or equivalent), but this was getting to be a lot of work. The "comparative compared to" sentences were coming in thick and fast, like spam. Clearly, they are catching on as a trend. A Google search for "higher compared to" as a unitary phrase gets 33,000 hits.

A mild version of the "comparative compared to" statement also appeared, the "comparative as compared to" or "comparative when compared to" statement. For example, "as compared to mice in treatment A, mice in treatment B were higher in immunoglobulin levels." Now this seemed really to be on the borderline. I thought that perhaps, though a little fusty sounding, this might actually be English. But I was not able to support this 'gut feeling' logically.

Today I saw the "more compared to" sentence that really took the cake, and I'll give it to you in its full glory: "Further, Carey's group found that hibernating squirrels, when compared to rats, have the well-characterized chaperone protein, HSP70, at levels five to ten times higher in a variety of organs."

(The so-called chaperone protein protects the squirrels' internal organs from damage when the animals are resuscitating out of hibernation.)

What do people think? Regardless of whether or not you find the squirrel sentence elegant in general, is its "higher when compared to" construction English? The writer, according to her byline, is a professional freelance writer from California. The forum is a widely distributed, US-based science newsmagazine called The Scientist. The best faithful rewrite I can do of the sentence while still keeping the squirrels in the limelight (as the first noun in the relative clause) is "Further, Carey’s group found that when hibernating squirrels were examined for levels of the well-characterized chaperone protein, HSP70, in their internal organs, several of the organs had this protein at levels five to 10 times as high as those detected in the organs of normal rats." Or, maximally condensed, "Further, Carey’s group found that in hibernating squirrels, a variety of internal organs contained the well-characterized chaperone protein, HSP70, at levels five to 10 times those seen in rat organs." The original writer's sentence sounds distinctly snappier than either of mine, or should I say, distinctly snappier when compared to either of mine.

What do you think about "more compared to" and "more when compared to" constructions in general? Are some of these forms legit, at least in some situations? If, to earn your next meal, you had to write a sentence about protein levels in squirrel organs as compared to rat organs, would you use such a device?
Comments  
Bratannia, those phrases probably arise from Madison Avenue English or Legalese, and as a result, they contain more words than necessary. The writer could have perfected the squirrel sentence by putting it in the passive voice. The sentence would then have been more perfected when compared to sentences in which writers had been advised to avoid redundancies and the passive voice.

Seriously, I do freelance writing, and I would never use such a construction.
Interesting (and witty), but I can't quite work out what the passive voice solution to this particular toy problem would be.

You may be right about the legalese roots of "more compared to," but it now seems to have become part of international English technical jargon. Also, the author's "further," is a professionally trimmed version of the ubiquitous "furthermore," which in the same kind of technical text is more and more used simply to mean "also." Its traditional note of hard-won triumph, to be sounded as the windup for a knockout punch in hot debate, is gone, gone, gone.
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Eight years on, more, higher, faster, etc 'compared to' seems to have become the standard construction if radio news broadcasts are anything to go by. I abhor it!