My theory is that dynamic verbs can take either more/most or better/best but the meaning will change.

I sleep more than him.

This means I sleep longer hours (quantity) than him.

I sleep better than him.

This means my sleep is of better quality than his.

Stative verbs can only take more/most.

I need water more than food.

Notice that you can't say:

I need water better than food.

But if I'm right, why can you say:

I know her better than you.

How can the quality of your knowing be good?

  • 1
    We speak of knowing a person or place well when we are closely acquainted with them/it. It's 'just the way we say it'. Nov 4, 2022 at 9:55
  • @ Kate Bunting That is indeed the best explanation. Isn't one way of explaining to look at it in terms of whether whatever-it-is is capable of measurement/comparison in terms of size, speed, quality, degree, intensity...? Some of these comparisons, especially personal ones, will be highly subjective. You could ask: "what would count as a good reason for disagreeing? It could be amount of contact, yes; or that you know something very significant about them that I don't know: that they had done/were doing something amazingly good/clever or bad/stupid.
    – Tuffy
    Nov 4, 2022 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


No, there is no such rule. I don't think that making your own classifications will get you anywhere. English is a very idiomatic language and rules have exceptions and exceptions have their own exceptions, because that's what we say in English.

It is idiomatic to say that you know someone/something (full) well and this is why we have well known, not *much known, but much needed advice.

Feel is normally a stative verb, but when used punctually, it is clearly idiomatic to say Are you feeling any better?

In less common contexts you will find:

I feel it in my lungs, every time they clutch my breath, I start to feel it more. (I swapped... heartbreak for more heartbreak, Jodie Matthews)

The two usages have different meanings, but you can see that in its non-stative use, feel can take both better and more.

It is better to take every verb on its own and get to know its area of usage by... usage.


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