36 votes

When did double superlatives go out of fashion in English?

Both double comparatives and double superlatives were marginalised and even forced out of standard English by grammarians as tautological and pleonastic towards the end of the 17th century and ...
fev's user avatar
  • 33.3k
26 votes

"as" or "than" in comparative constructions

As. There are two different constructions: More/less ... than ... As ... as ... We do not usually mix them, though I'm sure you can find plenty of examples where somebody launches into a long ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 77.2k
19 votes

Are "No more healthy than" and "No more big than" both OK?

Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech and Svartvik have the following in their A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (pp. 462-463): Most adjectives that are inflected for their comparison can also take ...
grandtout's user avatar
  • 1,728
19 votes

Why is "at least" unnatural here? "It won't take at least 15 minutes to walk there."

I agree with you that (1) is unnatural. I think it's not just a grammar issue but also a logical one: it's kind of hard to work out what the phrase "it won't take at least" should mean, and ...
N. Virgo's user avatar
  • 788
15 votes

Are "No more healthy than" and "No more big than" both OK?

Instead of using more to form comparatives, notice what happens when you use inflection for the comparative degree: Oversleeping is no healthier than overeating. The camera is no bigger than my ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 135k
15 votes

Why is "at least" unnatural here? "It won't take at least 15 minutes to walk there."

It won't take at least 15 minutes to walk there. It won't take more than 15 minutes to walk there. The meaning from other usage customarily heard, comes across as if the adverbial phrase 'at least' ...
Maggie's user avatar
  • 179
13 votes
Accepted

"Hair no more streaked with grey than was becoming" – meaning & grammar

This is using "becoming" as an adjective: suitable, fitting; especially : attractively suitable [Merriam-Webster] So it means that the woman's otherwise-dark hair was just streaked enough ...
Ryan M's user avatar
  • 1,157
12 votes

Why is "at least" unnatural here? "It won't take at least 15 minutes to walk there."

To supplement the more detailed answers with a brief intuitive take: "At least" implies that the value given is a minimum, and the actual amount could be larger. The construct "it won'...
Cristobol Polychronopolis's user avatar
11 votes

How to parse 'do more harm than good'?

In this context, you should take it to mean that legislation will have a number of effects. Some effects are good, some effects are bad. You can then instead parse the phrase as: hasty ...
John Go-Soco's user avatar
  • 2,266
10 votes
Accepted

Comparative form of adjective "starving"

Words of two or more syllables usually don't form comparatives with -er. There are exceptions, (such as words like hungry, that end in -y) but this holds as a general rule. When I read the title of ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 77.2k
10 votes

How to parse 'do more harm than good'?

When you use the syntax "more X than Y", X and Y need to be comparable to each other. Therefore, they should both be interpreted as nouns, or both adjectives, or both adverbs. And "more" means that ...
Barmar's user avatar
  • 20.8k
9 votes

When should "farther" and "further" be used?

"Further' versus 'farther' in the sense of distance It is rather difficult to obtain uncompromised comparisons of the frequency of use of further and farther in the sense of distance because any ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 163k
9 votes

"as" or "than" in comparative constructions

The basic undeleted structure of the first sentence is Twice as many men said they liked action movies than said they liked comedies. cf More men said they liked action movies than said they liked ...
Edwin Ashworth's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Is "preciser" a valid comparative of "precise"?

It is not impossible to find examples of "preciser" being used in published texts. From Google Books: What days were those of the next few years before increasing age had presented preciser ...
herisson's user avatar
  • 81.9k
8 votes

Why are comparative adjectives used here, with the definite article? "...a hatred, the deeper for being concealed..."

The OED has an entry for this use of the: a. Used with a following comparative adjective or adverb to emphasize the effect of circumstances indicated by the context.The circumstances are sometimes ...
DW256's user avatar
  • 8,854
8 votes

When did double superlatives go out of fashion in English?

Per OED, double comparatives and double superlatives were in standard use until the 18th century, and these types of constructions are now regional (mostly Scottish) or humorous. Below are the ...
ermanen's user avatar
  • 62.8k
8 votes

What is the difference between "more like X than Y" and "more like X than like Y"?

The example given is an indication of how this might work - and was probably the point the writer of the textbook may have been trying to make. (a) It looked more like a cormorant than a heron ...
ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere's user avatar
7 votes

How to parse 'do more harm than good'?

While I agree with the answers from a literal interpretation, I think it's helpful to understand that this phrase is idiomatic in usage and understanding. I initially said 'nearly idiomatic' because (...
JimmyJames's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Is there a rule distinguishing what kind of verbs can only take more/most?

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 ...
fev's user avatar
  • 33.3k
6 votes

Is it "more just" or "juster"?

While the comparative juster does not appear in the works of Shakespeare, the Bard does use the superlative in Antony and Cleopatra: Pompey. If the great gods be just, they shall assist The deeds ...
KarlG's user avatar
  • 28.1k
6 votes
Accepted

How to parse 'do more harm than good'?

Is "more harm than good" a noun phrase? hasty legislation does [more harm than good] hasty legislation does [things] hasty legislation does [stuff] "things" is a countable noun ...
CJ Dennis's user avatar
  • 5,115
6 votes

"as" or "than" in comparative constructions

It seems to me that the only possibilities of connection are "rather than", "more than" and "less than". Twice as many men said they liked action movies rather than ...
LPH's user avatar
  • 21.2k
5 votes

Should there be a comma between "every scrap" in the sentence below?

I wouldn't say that there's something wrong with it, but it is unusual. The more customary formulation uses bit not scrap, and so would be every bit as faithfully as I did. But scrap and bit aren't ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 135k
5 votes

sooner than possible vs as soon as possible

"Sooner than possible" is, of course, impossible by definition. I've never encountered this exact wording, but I've heard a similar expression, used jokingly: "As soon as possible, if not sooner." ...
Max Williams's user avatar
  • 23.1k
5 votes
Accepted

"no younger than I am" or "no more young than I am"?

In English, the idiom is: [subject] is no more [noun or adjective] than I am is very common. Please check out my examples: He's no more a thief than I am. He's no more rich than I am. He's no more ...
Lambie's user avatar
  • 14.9k
5 votes

"no younger than I am" or "no more young than I am"?

I am in complete agreement with @Lambie's answer. I thought this might be of interest: Horn, Laurence R. and Wansing, Heinrich, "Negation", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2017 ...
Xanne's user avatar
  • 14.8k
5 votes
Accepted

Saying the value is in between the other 2 values

The red bar represents the intermediate quantity of the three values. being, situated, or acting between two points, stages, things, persons, etc. I wouldn't say that a bar on a chart has a ...
nekomatic's user avatar
  • 560
5 votes
Accepted

Are "compared to" and "with respect to" interchangeable?

No, these do not mean the same thing. "Compared to" draws a direct comparison between one object and another. The proper phrase in the example sentence is "compared to" - the first ...
Nuclear Hoagie's user avatar
5 votes

Why is "at least" unnatural here? "It won't take at least 15 minutes to walk there."

This sounds like a rebuttal of a previously given statement "It will take at least 15 minutes to walk there". A polite way to say "This is nonsense, the walk will be significantly ...
rackandboneman's user avatar
4 votes

Is using "more correct" a grammatical faux pas?

"More correct" is certainly used when talking of forms of address. For instance it is quite common to call a Church of England parish priest "Reverend" when speaking to them but Debrett's {if you ...
BoldBen's user avatar
  • 17.2k

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