# “He does more than (is) necessary.”

Can someone diagram the sentences

1. He does more than necessary.
2. He does more than is necessary.

please? (Say, using an X-bar tree.)

Also, there seems to be a secondary clause in the sentences (or at least in 2): what's the name of that kind of clause?

• Can you show us what you've got so far? This smells like a homework assignment. – Dancrumb Apr 4 '11 at 16:43
• @Dancrumb, heh, it's not homework; I'm not in school. In any event, I was guessing something like NP He, VP (V does (direct-object-NP (N [that] some-sorta-subclause (NP [which] VP [is] more than (is) necessary)))). – msh210 Apr 4 '11 at 17:05
• ...with that last VP being: V is, PP (P more-than NP (N [that] some-sorta-subclause (NP which VP (is necessary)))). – msh210 Apr 4 '11 at 17:08
• @msh210: that's great... I'd suggest adding what you have to the question, to round it out a little. – Dancrumb Apr 4 '11 at 17:33
• @Dancrumb, but I don't know how to write it correctly (i.e. as a tree). And, anyway, that's an answer, not part of the question. Perhaps you mean I should add it as an answer? But it's just a guess, so I don't want to. – msh210 Apr 4 '11 at 19:02

I don't expect this is a final answer, but it may propel some of the grammarians/linguists here to fix it. Just learning what I could from the internet, I attempted to emulate the trees I found, abusing the labels & other conventions, I'm sure. But I think the essence of the question is illustrated: where does that pesky "is" come from? My instinct is that it is deep in the grammar, as my totally non-conventional diagram suggests.

About the clause question, they are both Subordinate Comparative Clauses. You know it because it is introduced by the nexus "more ... than or more than".

EDIT: The Clause is the smallest unit that has a "complete sense" (it carries a complete and logic meaning).

The simple clause (usually, they are not mandatory but this can change according to how a certain language works and is structured) consists of a subject and a predicate (i.e. verb):

Dogs bark. (caries is the Direct Object here)

Then you have the "complex" clauses (not sure how they are called in English), which have a Main clause and one or more subordinate clauses.

Dogs that are being bothered bark.

The bold part is the subordinate, it extends the meaning of the main clause, in this case it's not mandatory, the main clause (Dogs bark) can stay by itself, but in other cases subordinates are mandatory (the asterisk indicates something wrong):

The new rules force us to arrive here on time.
*The new rules force.

It may be imperfect but more or less this is a general explanation about clauses.

• Hm, thanks, but until I've got the sentence diagrammed, talking about what type of clause the clauses are doesn't really help me, as I don't even know what the clauses are. – msh210 Apr 4 '11 at 21:41
• I see, well, that can't be explained this fast, you'd need to consult some material about it... I'll make a fast edit in my answer. – Alenanno Apr 4 '11 at 23:06
• No, no. I mean, thanks, but you misread me. I didn't say "I don't even know what clauses are". I said "I don't even know what the clauses are": meaning, I don't know what the clauses in 1 and 2 are: meaning, I still don't have 1 and 2 diagrammed. – msh210 Apr 5 '11 at 2:37
• Ah ok, sorry, I misunderstood! – Alenanno Apr 5 '11 at 10:01

I haven't really used this form before, but I think possibly:

(Sentence: He does more than necessary)

(NP/N: He) (VP: does more than necessary)

while:

(Sentence: He does more than is necessary)

(NP/N: He) (VP: does more than is necessary)

(V: does)(AdvP: more than is necessary)