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Using "more of a" and "too much of a" is quite common, but when it comes to pluralizing these expressions, things become more complicated. I've never seen someone use these with a plural subject – I just see people rephrasing:

"He is too much of an idiot to understand."

"They are too stupid to understand."

Something I have always wondered about is whether you can pluralize those two expressions, something like "They are too much of ... ". But I cannot think of any way it would be used in the plural.

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I believe there are two things at play here. One is the fact that "too much of an" is dependent on a singular-typed characteristic, so it sounds clunky when converted directly to plural. The other is whether the phrase type is an established convention or not.

Consider these examples:

He is too much of an idiot to understand.
They are too much of idiots to understand.

While the above transmutation looks like it would fit, the problem is that the construction sounds unnatural, however could work.

The next revision suffers from something of the same:

He is too much of an idiot to understand.
They are too much of an idiot to understand.

This suffers from a singular-plural disagreement and sounds unnatural to the ear. Part of the issue is that "an idiot" applies to one person.

To resolve these two issues, some changes need to be made. In order to maintain continuity, these kinds of changes can be introduced, to allow singular-singular agreement.

He is too much of an idiot to understand.
They are (all) too much of an idiot to understand. (revision 1)
They (each) are too much of an idiot to understand. (revision 2)

Wherever the singular and the plural can both receive a singular-typed adjective, the construction tends to stay the same:

He is too much of an inconvenience for us at the moment.
They are too much of an inconvenience for us at the moment.
He is too much of a liability to the company now.
They are too much of a liability to the company now.

The most important reason why this works is because the singular-typed adjective here tends to be an abstract idea rather than a word that describes an individual that is countable.

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    To get back the OQ, I suggest it simply can't be done. The closest you might get would be "They are (each) too much the idiot…" and even if I thought I could really justify that I'd suggest it only as best, not right. – Robbie Goodwin May 7 '18 at 22:46
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    @RobbieGoodwin It's definitely the indefinite article that mucks this up, by having the likely unintended secondary effect of making the noun countable. – psosuna May 7 '18 at 23:08
  • @robbie goodwin is kind of right, none of the examples above seemed natural, just the "best". but is it really impossible? – Mohannad El-Nesr May 8 '18 at 8:14
  • @MohannadEl-Nesr Well, I wasn't disagreeing. The first sets are meant to be unnatural thus why they don't quite work. The revisions adding "all" and "each" are fixes but they also are not quite what you're looking for. However, this is one of the quirks in the English language that doesn't quite follow a structured pattern. The "all" and "each" examples, as well as Robbie's example with "the" replacing "of an" are the closest and better choices to express what you're looking for. There isn't a one-to-one pattern for these. – psosuna May 8 '18 at 16:59
  • well that's unfortunate, anyways thanks for contributing, that subject was bothering me for quite a while now, thanks :) – Mohannad El-Nesr May 8 '18 at 17:52
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One way of fixing this problem is to replace the indefinite article with the definite the.

Examples from the web and Ngram searches on "they are too much the".

While some are anonymous adaptations of older traditional motifs which come alive suddenly and briefly after years of inactivity, others may have a sustained local or regional popularity but never catch on with the general public, usually because they are too much the esoteric cultural possession of a particular ethnic or occupational group.

The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings by Jan Harold Brunvand, 2003

In other words, Scott warned that rank and salary have essentially the same bias; they are “too much the same thing”. Discrimination in one, if present, is the same as discrimination in the other. Scott thought there was quite a bit of “monkey business” in studies that used rank as a predictor, and one should be on guard. She ended up feeling strongly that rank should not be included as a predictor variable.

How one woman used regression to influence the salaries of many, by Amanda Golbeck, 2017

A sequel to the Printed Paper Lately Circulated in Warwickshire ...

A sequel to the Printed Paper Lately Circulated in Warwickshire ..., 1792.

  • You're definitely onto something with this. – Lambie May 7 '18 at 13:33
  • it doesn't sound too fitting in my oppinion – Mohannad El-Nesr May 8 '18 at 8:13
  • @MohannadEl-Nesr It might be that you're looking for a pattern that doesn't exist -- Phil's answer is actually very fitting. – psosuna May 8 '18 at 17:01

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