Exceptional Expressions For Everyday Events
More is a word that can be used in more ways than you might imagine! In general, more helps in making comparisons between different quantities, as in “This t-shirt costs more than that one, and “More students are attending the football games now that the team is winning.” In the first example, more is an adverb, and in the second it is an adjective. More can even serve as a noun, as in, “I wanted more, but my brother ate the last of the cake.”
More is very commonly used as part of a set of comparison words: many, more, and most. Many people like chocolate. More people like chocolate than licorice. Most people like candy. More often appears together with verbs, adjectives, and adverbs to express comparisons or degrees. Roberto enjoyed the movie, but he enjoyed the book more.
There is one catch to learning when to use more that can be confusing. Some words, for example, fast and high, usually form comparisons by adding the endings -er and -est, instead of using more and most (“ran fast, ran faster, ran fastest,” and “climbed high, climbed higher, climbed highest”). A helpful rule of thumb is that words of more than one syllable tend to be used with more and most. More is also seen in word combinations such as anymore (“any longer”) and furthermore (“in addition”).
- Can you think of other words that use -er and -est versus more and most?
- How is supplementary different from complementary?
- How is the meaning of “bigger than the sun” different from “even bigger than the sun”?
The Spanish Connection
The word more is a cognate of the Old Frisian word māra. The Spanish word for more is más. Although more and más are not cognates, some synonyms for more do have Spanish cognates.
- The expression “the more the merrier” is believed to come from an English poem written in the 1380’s. Since then, the phrase has become a common way to welcome people. The idea is that a bigger group will be even more lively or fun.
- The idiom “more or less” means “approximately” or “to some extent.” It suggests that the statement is somewhat true, but in a limited way. “The student’s report was more or less what the teacher had requested” indicates that the report was acceptable but not of the quality the teacher wanted. “The bottle of milk is more or less full” means that the bottle is almost but not completely full.