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This suggests that there were more people at the meeting than might have been expected.

than=conjunction

Is it joining the following two clauses, the first being a noun clause and the second being what?

there were more people than there might have been expected

If this above correctly shows what 'than' is joining, should we use the original phrasing or this one?

Thank you kindly
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Hi,

This suggests that there were more people at the meeting than might have been expected.

than=conjunction

Is it joining the following two clauses, the first being a noun clause and the second being what?

there were more people than there might have been expected

If this above correctly shows what 'than' is joining, should we use the original phrasing or this one?

I interpret this as

This suggests that there were more people at the meeting than ( the number of people ) that might have been expected.

Consider these simpler forms of the sentence.

There were more people at the meeting than the expected number.

There were more people at the meeting than seven.

The original phrasing is standard and normal.

Clive

No, it is a passive construction with subject omitted:

There were more than might have been expected (by you or me or the staff or a reasonable person)
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Sorry-- the 'no' is not at you, Clive.
Mister Micawber
There were more than might have been expected (by you or me or the staff or a reasonable person)


Thank you both for your help. However, I must have misunderstood you:

My understanding is that a conjunction always joins equal sentence parts--though some of the words can be omitted:

She is shorter than I (am short)

So what words are missing, which can be re-inserted showing that 'than' is joining equal sentence parts?
What do you mean by 'equal'? Conjunctions join all sorts of clauses and phrases. Trying to stick words in that were never omitted in the first place is just the reader's option-- both Clive's and my insertions are possible-- and more natural than the one you attempted.
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Hi,

So what words are missing, which can be re-inserted showing that 'than' is joining equal sentence parts?

I thought I already explained that.

In any event, I think you are taking too narrow a view of 'than'. I prefer the definition in my dictionary, which says that it introduces the second element in a comparison.

Clive
Mister MicawberWhat do you mean by 'equal'?
Conjunctions join two prepositional phrases, or two noun phrases, or two clauses, etc.

But they don't join a clause to a phrase etc

I am smarter than him.

If we ignore that 'that' can be a preposition, and if we accept that it is a conjunction, then this sentence is incorrect, because we are joining a clause to a noun (phrase--an object).

So what I was formerly asking was which words are missing that need to be re-inserted to make than joining two clauses?
My 2 cents here.

(Re-write 1) This suggests that there were more people at the meeting than one might have expected how many would come.

The adjective which is compared here in its degree is “many,” and if we put “how many” right after “than” by using passive form, we get

(Re-write 2) This suggests that there were more people at the meeting than how many might have been expected.

Then, we can omit “how many”, so we get

(Original) This suggests that there were more people at the meeting than might have been expected.

Otherwise, “might have been expected" could be understood as "what might have been expected, "what number might have been expected," “the number that might have been expected" etc. In either case, as long as the reader can understand, the writer can omit some parts.
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