Sentence 1

Many more people in poor areas have eye problems.

Sentence 2

I have many more books than she does.

I have a feeling that

Sentence 1 “many more” focuses on “many”, meaning a lot of people have eye problems.

Sentence 2 “many more” focuses on “more”, meaning I have far more books than she does.

In sentence 1 more modifies many, and in sentence 2 many modifies more.

Is that so?

  • 1
    "Many" modifies "more." "More" modifies "people," or whatever the ensuing noun is. It is not a matter of opinion. It is a point of fact. Your arbitrary feelings about what your examples focus on are just that: arbitrary. They only actually do that if you yourself provide that emphasis. Aug 23, 2019 at 11:39
  • @BenjaminHarman I had another idea. Can I interpret the first “many more” as “more than many”? After reading your review, I started to doubt it. Do you mean in any context, “many more +noun” only means what it means in sentence 2. Besides, sentence 1 is from my English textbook.
    – Din
    Aug 23, 2019 at 12:35
  • The first sentence isn't a complete sentence. It's a comparative that's missing the thing being compared. If you want to say that a lot of people have eye problems, then say that. As it stands, it's not a complete thought. Aug 24, 2019 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


"Many more" does not mean "more than many" in either sentence. In both sentences, it is an emphasized form of "more". "Many more people in poor areas have eye problems" means "More people in poor areas have eye problems." You may be confused because this is an unusual use of the word many: it is generally classified as an adverb in this construction, even though many is not usually used as an adverb.

  • It's because adverbs describe not just verbs but also adjectives. Adjectives describe nouns. Adverbs describe verbs and adjectives. When "many" is used immediately before a noun, like "people," for example, it is an adjective, but when it's used before an adjective before a noun, like "many people," it is an adverb. Aug 27, 2019 at 13:10
  • @BenjaminHarman: I'm not sure what you're responding to. Many is not usually used as an adverb either before a verb or before an adjective. I think the most common adverb used to emphasize the meaning of an adjective is very; comparative adjectives specifically are usually emphasized instead with the adverb much (as in much better or much worse). Many is used as an adverb only before the adjectives more and fewer (as far as I can tell). That is why I called this an unusual use of the word many.
    – herisson
    Aug 27, 2019 at 13:13

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