Grammar OK here? 1. He is the taller of the two brothers. 2. He would make a better engineer than a doctor.

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The two listed sentences are both grammatically correct. There is not a problem with word order, capitalization, and/or punctuation, so in that regard, the sentences are good. Unfortunately, a grammatically correct sentence does not necessarily mean it is a well written sentence. The first sentence can be greatly simplified by saying, "He is the taller brother." The sentence doesn't need the prepositional phrase "of the two brothers." "Taller" means a comparison between two things. "Tallest" would be 3 or more. The fact that the sentence uses "taller" means that there are only two brothers to begin with.

The second sentence is grammatically correct; however, it is an ambiguous sentence. Readers can't be sure if "he" would be a better engineer than a doctor might be, or if "he" would be better at being an engineer than he would be at being a doctor. In one case, there is a single person and two career opportunities. In the other case, there are two people competing to be the superior engineer. Unlike the first sentence, which is made clearer by cutting words out, the second sentence is better helped by adding a few words: "He would be better at being an engineer than he would be at being a doctor."

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1. He is the taller of the two brothers.

2. He would make a better engineer than a doctor.

1.      The “grammar” is correct here (that is, no rules of English grammar are violated), but there is some awkward syntax (word order).  A better sentence might be: “Of the two brothers, he is the taller.”

      The reason this syntax is smoother is because the words “of the two brothers” prepares the reader for the comparative adjective “taller.”

 

2.      Again, the “grammar” is correct, but there is some awkwardness in the ambiguity:

“He would make a better engineer than a doctor (would make).”  Or  “Of his two career choices, he is more capable of being an engineer than he is of being a doctor.”  One available clarification might be:

“He would make a better engineer than he would a doctor.”  This configuration removes the ambiguity, because the clause “he would (make) a doctor” is distinct from “Than a doctor would make.”

 

These subtleties are tied up in the grammatical scholarship called “reader response theory,” which seeks to identify expectations of  “the informed reader.”

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