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For this sentence, which one is correct or more suitable, 'more' or 'better'; or are they both equally valid? Are there any nuances between them?

I like baseball ______ than soccer.

Please give a reasoned justification for your answer.

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  • This question has been answered here: "Like something more" or "like something better"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 7 at 10:34
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    @Mari-LouA It is a bit interesting situation. I mostly agree that it is a duplicate and I wouldn't mind if it is closed, than I saw that a very wrong answer was upvoted 25 times and accepted in: "Like something more" or "like something better". And it looks like there isn't much to do to reverse this fiasco; unless the OP realizes; or if someone posts a very good answer there.
    – ermanen
    Aug 7 at 10:56
  • @ermanen I wouldn't say the top answer is "very wrong", it has good examples.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 7 at 11:02
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    @Mari-LouA The top answer in "Like something more" or "like something better" says that "better" is wrong and doesn't make sense; which is completely wrong. "Better" is idiomatic and common in colloquial speech for this context. See "Casey's" comment" under the top answer and other answers also.
    – ermanen
    Aug 7 at 11:06
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    Possibly, someone could write a good detailed answer here; and the other question can be closed as duplicate. I would prefer this solution and it is more useful. It doesn't feel right to direct people to a wrong answer for something common like this in language usage.
    – ermanen
    Aug 7 at 11:14

3 Answers 3

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Both forms are correct, but there are a few subtle differences in usage:

Both “like more” and “like better” (as in the sentence “I like apples more/better than oranges”) are widespread, but “like more” is usually considered more formal and “like better” more informal (some British English speakers incorrectly consider “like better” to be an Americanism, even though “like something better” predates “like something more” by several centuries and is common in British literature). To summarize:

  • I like apples more than oranges. (correct, more formal)
  • I like apples better than oranges. (correct, may be considered colloquial by some)

If you use either of the two, you will be understood. If you stick to “like more”, you also don’t run the risk of sounding too informal (or colloquial in the UK).

Jakob Marian's Language learning

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You should say "more". in this sentence.

"Better" helps in or describes quality, whilst "more" helps in or describes quantity.

The "amount of love" is more in this case. The following examples show different use-cases:

  • I like baseball more than soccer.
  • I prefer baseball to soccer.
  • Baseball is better than soccer.
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Here's an answer from a Japanese test question:

Q8: I like baseball (_____) than soccer.

  1. more
  2. well
  3. better
  4. good
  5. much
    Answer: 3

解説 私はサッカーより野球が好きです。
「like A better than B」で「BよりAの方が好き」という表現になるので正解は3の>「better」。
「野球が大好きです。」は「I like baseball very much.」となることから、 「much」の比較級である「more」を選ばないように。
「I like baseball more than soccer.」とはいえないので注意すること。

I got this Google translation:
“Note that you cannot say "I like baseball more than soccer.”

This is not correct.
In fact, semantically, ‘more’ is correct and ‘better’ is incorrect.
However, if we take grammar rules from usage (as is done in English but not in French for example), then both ‘better’ and ‘more’ are acceptable, and both are widely used in sentences like these.

In terms of semantics:
‘more’ refers to quantity while ‘better’ refers to a perceived objective value judgement, inherent in the thing itself (baseball or soccer). So, in this sentence there is a comparison of the quantity of liking if you use ‘more’ and a judgement that baseball is (objectively) better than soccer if you use ‘better’. Semantically this is a wrong use of the word ‘better’ because of the subjective “I like…” part of the sentence.

In actual usage however, when native speakers use ‘better’ in such a sentence, they mean ‘better’ subjectively, not objectively — and they mean it in a comparative, quantitative sense. In other words, the speaker is saying that he or she does in fact like soccer. It's just that they like baseball more than soccer. And this applies regardless of whether they are using 'more' or 'better'.

The solutions ‘well’, ‘good’, & ‘much’ are grammatically incorrect.

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  • 3
    If you're on an English language site, answering a question about English usage, why pick an answer that's written in Japanese to start from? Aug 6 at 14:57
  • It was written in English. The Japanese is commentary. I included it because there may be other EFL teachers out there (in Japan) who might find it useful or helpful.
    – Ron Vanden
    Aug 8 at 5:32
  • This question, as stated, is a draft of an online EFL textbook that I am a co-author of. I'm in the process of proofreading it now.
    – Ron Vanden
    Aug 8 at 5:34

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