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I just said:

Is it just me – but Proposition A doesn't quite sit right with me, and much less so for Proposition B.

Or should I have said:

Is it just me – but Proposition A doesn't quite sit right with me, and much more so for Proposition B.

What I meant here is: I disagree with A, and I disagree much more with B. The negation by "not" complicates the matter, making me unsure which to go for: "more" or "less"?

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  • Trust your instinct with more. After all, you do not agree with A, and you feel that way even more with B. Commented May 25, 2017 at 14:21
  • @YosefBaskin Hi. Perhaps, my confusion arises from the locution "still less" or "much less" in the sense of "let alone": "I have nothing to do with X, still less with Y".
    – user211513
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 14:29
  • Yes, but you feel stronger against B than A. A doesn't quite sit right with you, and B doesn't at all sit right with you. Commented May 25, 2017 at 14:36
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    I think the natural reading would apply more/less so to the whole of "doesn't quite sit right ...".
    – Lawrence
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 16:56
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    more and less are not the same ball of wax. That said, much more for and much less for are not grammatical in your sentences.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 17:21

2 Answers 2

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Do not forget that so in the structure more/less so normally signifies the ellipsis of an adjective or adverb or even a whole sentence mentioned before:

The OED says “more so” (as well as “moreso”) is derived from the earlier use of “more” with “ellipsis of the word or sentence modified.” That is, it comes from the use of “more” by itself to modify missing words, as in

I found the first act delightful and the second act even more [delightful].

Here “delightful” is missing after “more” but understood.

In the OED’s citation from Emma, published in 1815, Emma and Mr. Knightley are discussing Harriet’s initial rejection of Mr. Martin:

‘I only want to know that Mr. Martin is not very, very bitterly disappointed.’
‘A man cannot be more so,’ was his short, full answer.

(Grammarphopia)

The problem with your sentence is that the symmetry of its structure is faulty.

[Proposition A doesn't quite sit right with me] (1), and [much less so for Proposition B] (2).

You have two independent clauses connected by and. In (2) the subject and verb are omitted, and in such structures they should correspond to the subject and verb of (1), but this makes no sense:

Proposition A doesn't quite sit right with me, and Proposition A sits much less so for Proposition B.

Also the PP with me is replaced in (2) with for Proposition B, which again makes no sense.

What you probably meant is

Proposition A doesn't quite sit right with me, and this is much more the case with Proposition B.

You can simplify it using the verb disagree, as you suggested:

I disagree with Proposition A, and much/even more with Proposition B.

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OP's context is inherently ambiguous...

much less so
the extent to which Proposition B "sits right" with me is less than the (already low) "rightness" of Proposition A.

much more so
the extent to which Proposition B doesn't "sit right" with me is more than the (already high) "NOT rightness" of Proposition A.

In context, the intended meaning is obvious (A is imperfect, but B is worse), so I don't think anyone except pedants would even notice whether the writer's more / less was different to what they would use.

TEFL contexts excepted, we read / listen to people in order to understand what they're trying to tell us, not to pore over their use of ambiguous idiomatic constructions. Personally, I would use ...much less so does1 Proposition B in OP's context, but if I encountered the more version outside of ELU/ELL, I wouldn't give it a second thought.


1 Explicitly repeating the relevant verb does instead of OP's wishy-washy preposition for should make it even more obvious what's being emphasised.

It also makes it more obvious that the alternative to less here would be ...and much more so doesn't B. Which is really ugly, even though it's perfectly "logical".

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    Thank you for the common sense. I have in the past argued (unsuccessfully) that there is (or ought to be) a rule that if you are faced with this type of dilemma, then rephrase it altogether. And, if it's someone else saying this, ask them without being rude or sarcastic.
    – Tuffy
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 14:24
  • @Tuffy: Well, if it's someone else saying it, and the intended sense is obvious, there's no need to say anything at all. And if I'm honest, I suspect that in [almost?] every context where someone uses much more / less so to add emphasis, the basic assertion that's being emphasised is screamingly obvious (you can't really "emphasise" a "vague / ambiguous" point), If as the writer I felt my text wasn't clear, I might rephrase. (But if anyone suggested I should rephrase because their blinkered perspective allowed them to claim ambiguity, I'd just tell them where to stick it! :) Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 15:19
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    Fingers: I hope I'm allowed to comment simply: "yes." (>16 characters)
    – Tuffy
    Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 0:20

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