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Dr Grammar

more... than

Posted by peter   4 Aug 2014 1 21 am

Good evening Alex,

A question about the use of more...than: e.g.

1) Freedom of speech is more demanded by citizens in Hong Kong than in China.
2) Freedom of speech is demanded more by citizens in Hong Kong than in China.
3) Freedom of speech is demanded by citizens more in Hong Kong than in China.

Which of the sentences above are more preferred? Do they sound alike?

In sentence (1), "demanded" is a past participle but not an adjective. Do you think this is an incorrect way to put "more"?

Thanks in advance.
Peter
 
 

Teacher
Posted by alex stringer   18 Aug 2014 3 36 pm

Hi Peter

When 'more' relates to an adjective it goes before it; when it relates to a verb it often (but not always) goes after it. So the second one is OK, (although I wouldn't say it is a very natural-sounding sentence), and the first one doesn't sound right at all.

However, be aware that sometimes both positions can be used:

She is admired more than her contemporaries.
She is more admired than her contemporaries.


The third example sounds clumsy. Better to have the 'more' directly after the verb.

One other thing - avoid the use of the word 'citizens' to refer to people in general. This is a common HK error.
'Citizen' has a narrow and precise meaning relating to a person's legal status in a country or territory.

Alex
 
 
Posted by peter   19 Aug 2014 1 25 am

Hi Alex,

1.) May I clarify that is the "admired" in your example an adjective or past participle of a verb?

Having checked in some dictionaries, I found that it seems to be a past participle. However, in my dictionary software (Lingoes, Concise English dictionary) , it can be both.

2.) Following your example: She is more admired than her contemporaries.
Is it correct for me to modify my sentence like this: Freedom of speech is more demanded than money in Hong Kong.

3.) Thank you for the reminder to the use of "citizen". I'll pay more attention to its use. :)

Big Thanks!
Peter
 
 

Teacher
Posted by alex stringer   19 Aug 2014 1 24 pm

Hi Peter

Yes, the difference between participles and adjectives is an odd point. Some participles are also classified as adjectives - participle (or sometimes, participial) adjectives.
For example, surprised, tired, embarrassed and so on. However, all of the following dictionaries show admired as a verb only:

Shorter Oxford Dictionary (the largest and perhaps most authoritative Oxford dictionary you can get as an app)
Miriam-Webster (the best-known and most respected American dictionary)
MacMillan
Cambridge
Collins
Dictionary.com

Only the Longman online dictionary has it also as an adjective.

Does that mean there is a difference of opinion? Would Longman dictionary compilers fiercely debate this point with their counterparts at Oxford and the others? Does it matter? Will knowledge of this improve your English? Probably not!


Of far more importance is that your sentence is rather odd because of your use of the passive voice. It might sound 'logical' to make a passive sentence and put 'Freedom of speech' as the subject because that is the focus of interest, but unfortunately, we probably wouldn't say it that way.


In Hong Kong people are more concerned about freedom of speech than money (these days).
Freedom of speech is a more important issue (even) than money in Hong Kong these days.

They sound much better.
How can you learn that? Get reading...and listening! (Lots, every day.)

Alex
(As ever I'm more than happy to debate these niggling little points with you as they are interesting from an academic standpoint, but honestly, as ever, I don't think knowledge of them will improve your English much. There are so many, you'll never remember them all.)

(Btw Have you tried following my Advanced Speaking and Listening Page. I've been preparing lots of videos with transcripts for this course . Useful stuff.)

 
 
Posted by peter   22 Aug 2014 12 57 am

Hello Alex,

I got your points. Thanks :)
As always, I'd like to acquire knowledge from both academic and practical usage standpoints, to compensate each other.

Thanks for letting me know the ASL page, I've just added it to my list and will follow it.

Usually I read news from The Guardian using the Android Apps. I've also subscribed SCMP email notification, so I'll be able to get some chances to learn vocabularies which I may know in Chinese but not in English.

Whenever possible, I'll spend at least an hour a day reading English news of random topics. Also, I'll research academic topics of grammar when they just come to my mind, hoping to see if there are any rules which might help me to master this language better. Recently, I've been reading some model answers of writing tasks. I was trying to "feel" what natural English is. Even more, I watch TV programmes from Pearl with English subtitle hopefully it can help in some ways.

I've spent quite a lot of time and effort in learning English. Hope I'm doing it in a right/efficient way.

Lucky for me to be able to learn from you ;)

Cheers,
Peter
 
 
Posted by peter   22 Aug 2014 12 57 am

Hello Alex,

I got your points. Thanks :)
As always, I'd like to acquire knowledge from both academic and practical usage standpoints, to compensate each other.

Thanks for letting me know the ASL page, I've just added it to my list and will follow it.

Usually I read news from The Guardian using the Android Apps. I've also subscribed SCMP email notification, so I'll be able to get some chances to learn vocabularies which I may know in Chinese but not in English.

Whenever possible, I'll spend at least an hour a day reading English news of random topics. Also, I'll research academic topics of grammar when they just come to my mind, hoping to see if there are any rules which might help me to master this language better. Recently, I've been reading some model answers of writing tasks. I was trying to "feel" what natural English is. Even more, I watch TV programmes from Pearl with English subtitle hopefully it can help in some ways.

I've spent quite a lot of time and effort in learning English. Hope I'm doing it in a right/efficient way.

Lucky for me to be able to learn from you ;)

Cheers,
Peter
 
 

Teacher
Posted by alex stringer   25 Aug 2014 1 39 pm

The Guardian is good - quite long articles though.
Less happy with SCMP online. I tried subscribing but it stopped working and now they're blaming Google. App is a bit strange too.

There are some links for audio and video news and current affairs on the ASL page - lesson 3 - including some HK-related stuff.

Alex
 
 

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