Original sentence:

Don’t misunderstand, life is quite a wonderful thing, but non-life both precedes and outnumbers life.

The intention to describe that there are more non-life than there is life. Is there an appropriate substitute for "outnumber" here? Using "outnumber" for uncountable things seems improper...

List of rejected words:

  • exceed--only make sense if it is explicated what is being exceeded, i.e. the quantity of non-life exceeds the quantity of life; therefore, this is not a perfect substitution
  • surpass--similar to exceed, but also better suited to human agents' qualities
  • eclipse--better describe influence, especially when one overshadows another, instead of comparing quantities
  • outstrip--another synonym of "exceed", alternatively, describes rate of change, not quantity.
  • transcend/outclass--describes quality rather than quantity
  • surmount--implies conflict between compared things, and describes the victory of one over the other in said conflict
  • outdo--implies action, and compares extent of success in said action

closed as unclear what you're asking by vickyace, Hot Licks, Canis Lupus, tchrist Apr 1 '17 at 17:28

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  • I am not even sure what you intend it to mean. More of what? How do you compare a life quantity to a non-life, material quantity? – Canis Lupus Mar 30 '17 at 21:17
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    Exceed, outstrip, surpass, surmount, lead, eclipse, transcend, outclass.. – vickyace Mar 30 '17 at 21:19
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    ... and follows.... – Jim Mar 30 '17 at 21:22
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    @martin Ghosts and men are countable, the collective living and dead matter are not, but I appreciate the goodwill and cultural refinement – user289661 Mar 30 '17 at 21:42
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    You're looking for help plugging a word into a very particular context. This seems like a request for writing advice, which is not a good fit for our site. – MetaEd Mar 30 '17 at 21:50