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this sentence was the correct sentence from a collegeboard sat study guide practice writing section.

"The primatologist has argued that sustained observation of a few animals provides better behavioral data than does intermittent observation of many animals."

but that sounds really weird and I thought this was the answer

"The primatologist has argued that sustained observation of a few animals in contrast to intermittent observation of many animals, provides better behavioral data."

can someone explain ?
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What happened? The message goes way off into the right margin, and the letters are so tiny I can't read them. Can you fix?

CJ
alright i fixed
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It's still oddly stretched into the right margin, but the letters are now big enough to read anyway. Hmmm. I don't know how you can fix that.

Anyway, welcome to English Forums! Just your first posts, I see.

Your question has to do with style more than with grammar. It seems to me that the "correct" answer just uses fewer words and fewer repetitions of words, or rather that the "wrong" answer seems to interrupt itself (with "in contrast to") rather than continuing through in a single line of thought.

I didn't think the first (correct) one was really weird. I guess it seemed weird because of the than does ... part. That may be an unusual structure in everyday conversation, but not that weird in formal writing. It's a matter of inverting the clause after than so that the word does doesn't end up all alone at the end of the sentence. If you make up a few examples like this, it won't seem so weird to you anymore.

I like to drive much more quickly than do any of my friends who work with me daily.

(Better than: I like to drive much more quickly than any of my friends who work with me daily do. )

CJ
[2]
Hi guys,
this sentence was the correct sentence from a collegeboard sat study guide practice writing section.

"The primatologist has argued that sustained observation of a few animals
provides better behavioral data than does intermittent observation of many animals."
but that sounds really weird and I thought this was the answer

"The primatologist has argued that sustained observation of a few animals
 in contrast to intermittent observation of many animals, provides better behavioral data."

can someone explain ?
I'd just like to add a minor comment. You may think I'm overly fussy, but this is an SAT question.
I consider the second sentence to be incorrect because of the comma after 'many animals'. 
It would be OK if it was paired with a comma after 'few animals'. 
As written there is no need to pause before 'provides', and such a needless pause 
confuses the reader as to the meaning, in my opinion. 
You, can't, just, stick, commas, in, anywhere, without, a, purpose. 
Best wishes, Clive
darn, i just realized the comma error.

btw, Ok now I understand it

string(thx>gracias)?+=xiexie

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I think that the first sentence is excellent.
The second sentence is missing a comman after the first occurrence of animals, as Clive noted.
As well, I consider the second sentence to be a vastly inferior construction.
The embedded clause should not be primary to the meaning of the sentence.
Yet, if it were removed, the sentence would be incomplete,
as the required comparison is inserted in an unusual and sub-optimal position in an embedded clause.