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Barely literate
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 10:42:48 AM

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Dear forum members,

One of my cousins, my aunty's son, who is studying in 5th standard, wanted me to teach how to use "the more....the more" in sentences. Since he lives far away from our house, I am planning to send an email to him. Actually, the fact is that I don't even know for sure how to use it exactly. Hence I am posting the email prepared here for your approval.

Any correction appreciated.

I’m glad that you too stared loving English as I do. And I am so proud that you chose me to clear your doubt in this regard. As far as I am aware, you can use “the more....the more” in sentences as explained below.


The more .... the more.

Eg: 1--The more you study, the more knowledgeable you will become.

You can also use it in past tense, like...

Eg: 2--The more I heard of him, the more sympathetic I was for him.
It is not always necessary that your sentence must contain “more”. Any ‘comparative degree’ of adjectives will work here. Such as...

Eg: 3--The faster you go, the earlier you will reach there.
Eg: 4--The heavier the load, the faster the hook to which it is attached, will collapse.
Eg: 5--The more you dump materials in this store, the lesser the vacant space available for useful things to be kept.
In the normal usage, we seldom use “the” in front of a comparative degree, but before a superlative degree of the adjectives. But in this special construction, the article “the” is advisable to use before the comparative degree.
kool-wind
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 12:06:31 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

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Location: Le Busseau, Poitou-Charentes, France
Not too bad salesh.

To begin with (but it's probably just a typo) "I’m glad that you too (have) started loving English as I do…"

I can see that you have more or less grasped the usage of the more…the more, and your examples are good, even if the wording is a bit strange some of the time.

1. is fine.
2. "…the more symathetic I was towards him", or "…the more sympathy I felt for him".
3. OK.
4. OK, but not too natural.
5. Doesn't work because you can't use lesser like that.

Why don't you use this as one of your examples? It is a real saying.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Yakcal
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 12:08:20 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

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Location: Trinidad, California, United States

Hi salesh2010,

I'm with you on 1-4, but sentence 5 will not work at all.

Lesser cannot be used in that context. You can say 'the lesser of two evils' but you can't say 'the lesser the vacant space available for useful things to be kept'.

The end of that sentence would have to read, 'the less vacant space will be available for . . .'

And here is my shortcoming salesh2010; as a native speaker I know what doesn't sound right, but I didn't pay enough attention in class to understand, always, why it isn't right!

So someone else will be along soon to tell you why.
SinTax
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 2:12:14 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 5/6/2013
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Location: California
I support Yakcal. As a native English speaker, I know that sentence 5 is incorrect. I also agree that the only time I've ever heard "lesser" used in a sentence is in the phrase "the lesser of two evils", and that phrase is practically a kind of joke. It's just one of the quirks in a language that you must learn by memory.
thar
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 4:15:00 PM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
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I think the reason 5 is wrong is simpler than just 'because' (although that works too!)

You are using two similar words,

either more ( increased amount of something) the more (increased level of adjective)

Eg: 1--The more you study, the more knowledgeable you will become.
Eg: 2--The more I heard of him, the more sympathetic I was for him.


or two comparative adverbs
Eg: 3--The faster you go, the earlier you will reach your destination.

or two comparative adjectives
Eg: 4--The heavier the load, the faster the hook to which it is attached will collapse.

but here, the two comparatives are not more and lesser.
The correct opposite comparative of more is less.
The correct opposite comparative of greater is lesser.
Eg: 5--The more you dump materials in this store, the less you leave vacant space available for useful things to be kept.

As has been said, it is not easy to find a sentence with lesser in, but I will try:
The greater the crime, the lesser the man.
That sounds a bit poetic, but it is at least one example where I think it does sound reasonably OK Think , not wrong as in the OP 5. As said, you generally have 'the lesser of two evils' which would be the opposite of 'the greater of two evils'.

[please excuse me repeating back what you already know, I had to work through it myself to see what I was trying to say!]
leonAzul
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 11:00:14 PM

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Yakcal wrote:

Hi salesh2010,

I'm with you on 1-4, but sentence 5 will not work at all.

Lesser cannot be used in that context. You can say 'the lesser of two evils' but you can't say 'the lesser the vacant space available for useful things to be kept'.

The end of that sentence would have to read, 'the less vacant space will be available for . . .'

And here is my shortcoming salesh2010; as a native speaker I know what doesn't sound right, but I didn't pay enough attention in class to understand, always, why it isn't right!

So someone else will be along soon to tell you why.

This is an odd quirk of English.

The forms of these adjectives are:

1) many, more, most; few, fewer, fewest;
2) much, more, most; little, less, least;
3) great, greater, greatest; less*, lesser, least.

As you can see, there is a bit of a mix-up involved, with several words re-used in a way that is not altogether logical. Brick wall

Sorry, mate, but that's how it works. Other comparative synonyms and antonyms are much more regular and predictable than these troublemakers.

Worse, I am noticing a definite trend to minimize the distinction between the first and second rows of comparatives, even among educated speakers.

All I can say is that it is always correct to make the distinction, and at some point a more clear distinction between informal and formal usage will become established—says this bear of little brain. Whistle

Edit:
*This word "less" is included merely formally. Only the most Insufferable Pedant™ would ever actually use it like that.


thar
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 1:48:04 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
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leonAzul wrote:
This is an odd quirk of English.

The forms of these adjectives are:

1) many, more, most; few, fewer, fewest;
2) much, more, most; little, less, least;
3) great, greater, greatest; less*, lesser, least.

As you can see, there is a bit of a mix-up involved, with several words re-used in a way that is not altogether logical. Brick wall


I looked up the etymology of this (sorry, leon, the one you don't rate!) and found that even the original lexicographer ranted about this *!

Quote:
lesser (adj.)
early 13c., a double comparative, from less + -er (2). Johnson calls it "a barbarous corruption of less, formed by the vulgar from the habit of terminating comparatives in -er." As an adverb from 1590s; now generally poetic or obsolete except in expression lesser-known (1813
).


'Johnson' would be Dr Samuel Johnson who compiled a comprehensive dictionary of English in 1755.

and the background, for completeness:

less
Quote:
Old English læs (adv.), læssa (adj.), comparative of læs "small;" from Proto-Germanic *lais-izo "smaller" (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian les "less;" Middle Dutch lise "soft, gentle," German leise "soft"), from PIE root *leis- "small" (cf. Lithuanian liesas "thin"). Formerly also "younger," as a translation of Latin minor, a sense now obsolete except in James the Less. Used as a comparative of little, but not related to it. The noun is Old English læsse.
chuckc4th
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 2:21:59 AM
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Location: United States
"The more things change, the more they stay the same."
"The more, the merrier."
"The more you know, the more you know how much more there is to know."
"The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large."
leonAzul
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 3:02:20 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 8,589
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Location: Miami, Florida, United States
thar wrote:
leonAzul wrote:
This is an odd quirk of English.

The forms of these adjectives are:

1) many, more, most; few, fewer, fewest;
2) much, more, most; little, less, least;
3) great, greater, greatest; less*, lesser, least.

As you can see, there is a bit of a mix-up involved, with several words re-used in a way that is not altogether logical. Brick wall


I looked up the etymology of this (sorry, leon, the one you don't rate!) and found that even the original lexicographer ranted about this *!

Quote:
lesser (adj.)
early 13c., a double comparative, from less + -er (2). Johnson calls it "a barbarous corruption of less, formed by the vulgar from the habit of terminating comparatives in -er." As an adverb from 1590s; now generally poetic or obsolete except in expression lesser-known (1813
).


'Johnson' would be Dr Samuel Johnson who compiled a comprehensive dictionary of English in 1755.

and the background, for completeness:

less
Quote:
Old English læs (adv.), læssa (adj.), comparative of læs "small;" from Proto-Germanic *lais-izo "smaller" (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian les "less;" Middle Dutch lise "soft, gentle," German leise "soft"), from PIE root *leis- "small" (cf. Lithuanian liesas "thin"). Formerly also "younger," as a translation of Latin minor, a sense now obsolete except in James the Less. Used as a comparative of little, but not related to it. The noun is Old English læsse.

Right then; even the Insufferable Pedant™ has his pants in a twist.
Dancing
Ernesto Paul Fernandez Diaz
Posted: Saturday, October 18, 2014 12:40:02 PM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 10/18/2014
Posts: 1
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Drawing my conclusions, the more skills the workers had, the more difficulties had the employers to find them.


IS THIS SENTENCE CORRECT???
thar
Posted: Saturday, October 18, 2014 1:16:57 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 22,788
Neurons: 92,574
Ernesto Paul Fernandez Diaz wrote:
Drawing my conclusions, the more skills the workers had, the more difficulties had the employers to find them.


IS THIS SENTENCE CORRECT???

Hi Paul.

It is almost right. You have to have the same structure in the two parts:
The more skills the workers had, the more difficulties the employers had in finding them.

kecebong katak
Posted: Saturday, April 25, 2015 6:53:33 PM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 4/25/2015
Posts: 1
Neurons: 3
Guys, is this sentence correct?

The longer single he is, the more he is not relaxed on a date.
NKM
Posted: Sunday, April 26, 2015 12:41:54 AM

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Joined: 2/14/2015
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Location: Corinth, New York, United States
Eg: 2--The more I heard of him, the more sympathetic I was for him.
- OK, but change "for" to "toward" (AmE) or "towards" (BrE)

Eg: 3--The faster you go, the earlier you will reach there.
- OK, but change "reach there" to "get there" or "arrive." (Sounds more natural.)

Eg: 4--The heavier the load, the faster the hook to which it is attached, will collapse.
- OK, but "... the faster the hook supporting it will collapse" would be better.

Eg: 5--The more you dump materials in this store, the lesser the vacant space available for useful things to be kept.
- Change "lesser" to "less."
- Note that the second clause has no verb. Strangely enough, the sentence actually works well (and sounds perfectly normal!) without it.


NKM
Posted: Sunday, April 26, 2015 12:47:26 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 5,266
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Location: Corinth, New York, United States
kecebong katak wrote:
Guys, is this sentence correct?

The longer single he is, the more he is not relaxed on a date.

════════════════════════════════════

Sounds like a quote from Yoda. Eh?

- "The longer he is single, the more he can't relax on a date."

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