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. John bought more bread than he needed (to). Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 8:52:45 PM
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Joined: 7/4/2012
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1. John bought more bread than he needed.
2. John bought more bread than he needed to.

Is there a difference between the sentences?

Thanks.
palapaguy
Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 10:02:29 PM

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Location: Calabasas, California, United States
Koh Elaine wrote:
1. John bought more bread than he needed.
2. John bought more bread than he needed to.

Is there a difference between the sentences?

Thanks.


There is a slight difference.

1. John bought more bread than he needed. = more than John, himself, needed

2. John bought more bread than he needed to. = more than he needed to buy
Koh Elaine
Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 10:23:19 PM
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Joined: 7/4/2012
Posts: 3,123
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Thanks, palapaguy.
Ravindra
Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 4:13:34 AM
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Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Thank you Palapaguy. Could you please throw more light for me to get the difference. I think I understood it. The next second I feel I haven't. At times, this happens with me.

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
Henry Miller


Ravindra
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 4:24:00 AM

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Location: Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland
I agree with palapaquy's answer, but
sentence number 2 sounds very odd. So does palapaquy's grammatically correct answer. Only a non-native would say that.


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
thar
Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 4:58:56 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
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Ravindra wrote:
Thank you Palapaguy. Could you please throw more light for me to get the difference. I think I understood it. The next second I feel I haven't. At times, this happens with me.

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
Henry Miller


My explanation is slightly different but I think it simplifies the difference.
There are two options here.
This is not really about correct grammar - it is about what meaning the sentence is really expressing


1
John needs bread.
He answers this need by buying some.

He buys more bread than he needs.


And
2
John needs bread.
To answer this need:
John needs to buy bread.

He buys more bread than he needs to.

Which is the better way of saying:
He buys more bread than he needs to buy.


2 is technically correct but more complicated. Really, what he needs is bread.
So, as JJ says, the most common way of saying this would be 1.


However, if it is "needs + verb", it will need 'to'.

John needs to buy bread more often.
He buys bread less often than he needs to [buy bread].


So, infinitive verb:
Needs to buy...
Buys more than he needs to.


Noun object
Needs something
Buys more than he needs.

Does that make sense?
Ravindra
Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 6:03:49 AM
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Joined: 3/23/2009
Posts: 677
Neurons: 44,100
Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Yes, it does. Thank you Thar.

History had its own way of explaining things. The way historians explain things is by telling a story.
Donald Kagan


Ravindra
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