"In the city you will find more houses than trees."
Translation:En la urbo vi trovos pli da domoj ol da arboj.
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I think your sentence does work, in that your "pli" relates more to the verb "trovos". It's rather like saying "You will more [often] find houses than trees".
Perhaps this could be compared with a sentence in PMEG: "Mieno lia montris pli suferon, sed ne koleron." (http://bertilow.com/pmeg/gramatiko/e-vortecaj_vortetoj/ceteraj/pli_plej.html)
This shows why it’s useful to check the discussion for complex sentences, even if you get them correct and (think you) understand them. My reading of something in PMEG that had probably helped me decide to use da was entirely different—but based on Bertilow’s explication of da rather than of pli: a second key difference (not mentioned in the pli page, because it isn’t relevant) is that sufero and kolero aren’t quantifiable. I was guessing that both played a part here.
But checking the Tekstaro for cases of pli da (o-vorto)… ol (da) (o-vorto) and comparing them to cases of pli (o-vorto)… ol (o-vorto), it looks like your explanation is exactly right—it’s the relationship to the verb that matters, not the quantifiability of the o-vorto, as it can be in some other uses of da. Both quantifiable and non-quantifiable o-vortoj appear in both those Tekstaro links, and it appears to be the relationship to the verb that matters.
Thank you for the useful pointer to this interesting wrinkle!
- Your question is more of context than content.
- Your question is more of context than of content.
- Oni trovos pli da domoj ol arboj tie.
- Oni trovos pli da domoj ol da arboj tie.
Since the English construction doesn’t require anything corresponding to da, the Duolingo Golden Rule can’t apply, since neither one nor two da’s are a more literal way to translate it.