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Subject: rather than
Question: Hello. I'm an English teacher in Iran.

I found the following sentence in the novel ''Madame Bovary.''

''In the market-place she met Lestiboudois on his way back. Rather than cut his day short, he chose to break off from his work and resume afterwards, thus ringing the Angelus to suit his own convenience.”

Here is the question: In the sentence above, ''rather than'' means ''instead of'' , right? But, why the verb '' cut'' does not have '' ing'' ? I think the sentence should be ''''In the market-place she met Lestiboudois on his way back. Rather than CUTTING his day short, he chose to break off from his work and resume afterwards, thus ringing the Angelus to suit his own convenience.”

What do you think? Do you agree with me?

Please explain your reasons. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes

Reply: For the record,

1) Yes, my dialect allows either "cut" or "cutting" in that position. No grammar that I
know of can fully document all variations in a language, not even the standardized
language, so it's not surprising that you may find expressions in a text not covered in a
grammar.

If a similar usage question comes up, you may want to see if you can use a search
engine and enter a specific phrase to see if it occurs elsewhere on the Internet. The
lower the number, the less likely it is that it is widely used.

2) We are talking about an English translation of a French novel. Madame Bovary is an
excellent novel, but there are potential translation issues that could happen.

Hope this is useful.
Reply From: Elizabeth J Pyatt      click here to access email
 
Date: 15-Jul-2013
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: rather than    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (15-Jul-2013)
  2. Re: rather than    James L Fidelholtz     (15-Jul-2013)
  3. Re: rather than    Herbert Frederic Stahlke     (15-Jul-2013)

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