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I often find myself using the two words joined together, moreso. I'm not sure where I picked up this usage. I'm also not sure that it's necessarily the correct one, as some proofreading tools will flag for not being a correctly-spelled word. Though I have seen it in multiple places when I've been looking for it, even on this site.

Is moreso generally accepted as being correct? Would it be correct to use in a serious paper?

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    I have never seen it before in my life, and nor is it recognised by Oxford Dictionaries on-line.
    – WS2
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 9:27
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    The one-word form "moreso" is covered fairly well in this Grammarist article: grammarist.com/usage/moreso
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 9:29
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    @DanBron I have just noticed that the OED recognises moreso as a US usage, meaning simply 'more so' as in 'all the more so'.
    – WS2
    Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 9:33
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    I would use it at any level of formality, unless I had a particular reason to avoid risking the disapproval of conseratives. Moreso because its usage and acceptance are in flux. Fight the power! Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 11:24
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    I'm from the States and frequently read scientific literature from around the world. I have never seen moreso anywhere, and I hate it. It reads like a word that rhymes with peso. Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 4:43

5 Answers 5

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Moreso and more so are both correct, but in different contexts.

Example:

Anna's performance was good, but Emma's more so.

In this example, the "so" in more so relates back to the statement of the quality of Anna's performance.

However,

I believed the novel was moreso about oppression than the human spirit.

In this case, there is no precedent to justify "more so", therefore "moreso" is used instead.

Be aware also that "moreso" is considered less formal than "more so".

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    It's true that the phrase more so, as conventionally used, does not work in your second example; but this does not imply that it should be spelled differently (or that spelling it differently will improve anything). Note, for example, that a lot is still written as two words in a phrase like a lot bigger (though some people have indeed tried to write it as alot).
    – ruakh
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 2:35
  • @ruakh There are examples the other way, as well. "I don't want any more to eat." vs "I don't eat anymore." Also consider adverbial "every day" vs. adjectival "everyday."
    – rintaun
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 9:42
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    @rintaun: Those are not "examples the other way", since "anymore" and "everyday" are both cases where a compound was standardly written open ("I don't eat any more") or at least hyphenated ("an every-day affair") and eventually became closed. Grammarian's answer is asserting that the whole reason some people write "moreso" is that there's no history of using "more so" that way.
    – ruakh
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 17:31
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    Does your second example mean something different with that word "moreso" than it would with the actual word "more"?
    – bof
    Commented Jan 26, 2019 at 7:47
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    Please add a valid reference to substantiate your claims. Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 11:15
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That Grammarist post is completely misleading, not to mention contradictory.

IF "More so strictly means that to a greater degree ...," then the word "more" is a crucial element of the sentence:

Gina is studious, and Eleanor is more so.

The sentence is stating that "Gina is studious," and that "Eleanor is more so." Meaning, while Gina is studious, Eleanor is MORE studious than Gina. Therefore the word MORE, is crucial.

You cannot simply replace the word "more" with "less" or "equally" because those two words are in no way equivalent to "more." If you stated that ... Gina is studious, and Eleanor is less so. ... you would be stating that Eleanor is LESS studious than Gina, and therefore it is not an equivalent sentence.

The logic behind the Grammarist site post on this topic is baffling, to say the least.

Anyways, in my opinion, while "moreso" is used MORE (not LESS or EQUAL TO) in the US than in other places, it would probably be wise to use the two-word version (more so) than the one-word, just because it is more widely acknowledged. Acceptance is a bit irrelevant considering the differences among many languages around the world.

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    I am just going to assume that it was done with a devilish sense of irony and humor, but seeing a post about correct English word usage and grammar where the concluding paragraph begins with the word "Anyways" was quite jarring! I couldn't stop staring at it and forgot to read the rest of the post.
    – Fonebone
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 4:11
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Excerpting this Grammarist post:

Though more so spelled as two words, the one-word moreso gained ground despite the disapproval of usage authorities.

More so strictly means that to a greater degree, and so refers to an adjective or adverb used earlier.

E.g.:

Gina is studious, and Eleanor is more so

In the sentence above, so refers to the the adjective studious, and is a crucial element of the sentence while more is not. Because more and so function separately, changing more so to moreso in cases like this is difficult to justify.

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    In my opinion, this answer owes too much to the Grammarist post cited elsewhere in this question without giving proper credit.
    – tylerharms
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 10:39
  • @Mustapha "Moreso" is also a proper noun... google.fr/…
    – Elian
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 20:42
  • @tylerharms Problem is, the Oxford English Dictionary is paywalled and can't be properly cited without paying a hefty fee.
    – Maybe
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 20:40
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This Grammarphobia article discusses the etymology of "more so" and "moreso" at length; it's by far the best resource I've found, and it gave me the direction I needed to write this answer out.

As mentioned in other answers, the 3rd edition of Oxford English Dictionary (which is online-only and requires a hefty fee to fully access) recognizes it as a "chiefly U.S." variant of "more so". Thanks to a recent answer by @DjinTonic, we now have the full text of the entry:

more (adv.)
I.1.f. With ellipsis of the word or sentence modified. Now frequently with anaphoric so (see so adv. & conj. I.4a) in more so (also, chiefly U.S., moreso). (all) the more: the rather, the more so (as, because, etc.).
1997
Anyone perceived as being different from society's norms was a potential target—no-one moreso than the local wise-woman.
C. Shaw, Scottish Myths & Customs x. 223

As of writing, the only reputable & physically published standard dictionary to feature "moreso" as anything other than a misspelling is the 5th—and foremost—edition of Webster's New World College Dictionary, which labels it as a "disputed spelling". The dictionary can be borrowed & accessed online from Internet Archive. Here's the full text of the entry:

more·so (môrsō′) adv. disputed sp. of more so

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (2014). moreso. In Webster's New World College Dictionary (5th ed., p. 951).

In summation: Because it's in a standard dictionary – even if it is "disputed" – you can kinda get away with it. If people keep using it, it won't be long until it's begrudgingly accepted by your spellchecker.

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    You can see most of the OED's quotations for "moreso" without a subscription.
    – Laurel
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 0:09
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    An answer with references. Thank you for this, Vopel. Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 16:08
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    Djintoxic ? I guess I've overstayed my welcome. What a difference a letter makes!
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 2:18
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    A historical dictionary (OED; M-W) merely lists senses and subsenses in the order they can be shown to have appeared over time, in the lexicon. The others attempt to list usages in order of frequency of use. OED is the standard for English dictionaries. Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 14:23
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    @EdwinAshworth USA
    – Maybe
    Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 19:11
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more (adv.)

I.1.f. With ellipsis of the word or sentence modified. Now frequently with anaphoric so (see so adv. & conj. I.4a) in more so (also, chiefly U.S., moreso). (all) the more: the rather, the more so (as, because, etc.).

1997 Anyone perceived as being different from society's norms was a potential target—no-one moreso than the local wise-woman.
C. Shaw, Scottish Myths & Customs x. 223
[OED online]


moreso Misused for more so. • While it may not be killing trees, it is alienating to be endless pitched to, even moreso when they have you figured out. Use more so. • We still get the best of the old standards—even moreso in some cases. Use more so. • We have now and will have even moreso in the future a unity that binds us all as one people, one family. Use more so. • It's partially because of the wacky plots and situations Mike Allred likes to put his characeters into ... but moreso because the book seems to vary in strength. Use more so.

Despite the frequency with which some people use moreso, it is necessarily two words, more so, meaning to an even greater degree or extent.
Robert Hartwell Fiske's Dictionary of Unendurable English (2011)

"Newfoundlanders need the money much moreso than Ontario workers." That was from the editorial page of one of our major dailies. "The ranges [of examination results] here are very much concentrated moreso." That was a school teacher; did she mean more concentrated? God knows. This malpractice arose because of misunderstanding of a minor grammatical point, where one uses "so" to avoid repetition of a long phrase. "The deficit was a heavy burden under the Liberals; under the Conservatives it is more so." Perfunctorily taught and half-heard, this has produced the unloveable moreso.
Victoria Branden; In Defence of Plain English: The Decline and Fall of Literacy in Canada (1992)

I wonder whether some users of moreso have been led astray by the adverb moreover. Perhaps more recent usage guides chide moreso lessso.

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  • The way it rolls off the tongue shouldn't be discounted. I see plenty of people spell "at least" as "atleast", but I've never seen anyone spell "at most" as "atmost".
    – Maybe
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 5:39
  • Over time, using one space less may even save the odd tree. Another answer with references ;) Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 16:11

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