2

Today I heard in a video a phrase that puzzled me a bit, specifically

"...a more just and fair system..."

My previous understanding is that it should had been "fairer and juster" but now I have deep doubts having seen several similar combinations all over the internet.

Are both forms acceptable, and if not, why not?

  • Like fun, just is one of the one-syllable adjectives whose comparative uses more (I can't think of any beside these two). And because it's more just, they've used more fair for parallelism (you could also say fairer and more just). – Peter Shor Nov 21 '14 at 11:21
1

Both are valid. "More just and fair" means "More (just and fair)", by which I mean that more is applied to both just and fair, giving you juster and fairer.

More importantly to me,

more just and fair

is more elegant (and more eloquent) English than

juster and fairer

although I believe most politicians would choose

a juster, fairer system

Which is still more elegant English than juster and fairer while being less formal (and so more accessible) than more just and fair

2

For most one-syllable adjectives, the proper way to form the comparative is to add -er. The comparative using more is always grammatical, but is used much less often. There are two exceptions that I can think of: juster and funner are not used much in contemporary English. (See Ngram.)

The author is using more just because juster is very rare today, and is using more fair for parallelism with more just. He could also have said "fairer and more just".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.