The Use of More in English

How to Use this Modifier

The modifier more is commonly used in English in a wide variety of situations. You are probably familiar with the use of more in the comparative form, but there are other uses as well. Below you will find explanations of each of the different ways more is used to modify nouns, as well as in the comparative form and as an adverb. More is different than (the) most which you can learn about on this page dedicated to the uses of most in English.

Comparative Form

The most common use of 'more' is in the comparative form. 'More' is used with adjectives of more than one syllable - with the exception of adjectives ending in 'y' - to express that there is more of a particular quality. Notice that the opposite 'less' is also used in a similar manner to indicate that there is less of a particular quality (This hike is less dangerous than the one we took last week.)

Examples:

  • My history class is more interesting than my math class.
  • New York is more expensive than Seattle to visit.

More + Noun = Determiner

'More' is placed before a noun as a determiner to state that there is more of something. However, it is important to note that the preposition 'of' is not used when speaking in general. Remember that the plural form is used when speaking in general about countable items or people (There are more students this year). When speaking about uncountable objects, use the singular form (We need more rice).

Examples:

  • It's important to eat more fruit in your diet during the summer.
  • There are more books to read in the next room.

More of + Determiner + Noun

'More of' is used with articles and other determiners when speaking about a particular thing or group. This is true for people as well as for objects.Remember that 'the' is used to indicate a specific object that both the listener and the speaker understand, whereas 'a' is used to speak about something listeners do not which specific instance is referred to.

Examples:

  • He is more of a thinker than you might realize.
  • I'll have to use more of this class to explain the present perfect.

More Alone

In some instances, it's clear which noun 'more' modifies. For example, in a restaurant, a wait person might ask you if you would like more referring to coffee, water, etc. If the context is clear the noun may be dropped.

Examples:

  • Would you like more? - Sure, I'd love more. (Mom talking to child concerning cake)
  • I wish I had more, but the economy is tough these days. (Friend talking about money)

Number + More + Noun + Infinitive

A number used with more followed by a noun and an infinitive expresses that how many/much more there are/is to do of a certain task. 'One more ... to do' can be substituted with 'another ... to do.'

Examples:

  • There are three more tests to correct today.
  • Jennifer needs two more credits to graduate.

More as Adverb

More can also be used as an adverb to indicate an increase in an action or feeling. The opposite of this form is 'less' (i.e. I like him more every day. OR I like him less every day.)

Examples:

  • I like him more each time I see him.
  • She wants more every time I talk to her.

More and More

The comparative phrase 'more and more' before an adjective is used to state that something or someone is increasingly becoming a certain way.

In other words, when stating that there is a growing tendency towards something use the phrase 'more and more' before an adjective. The opposite of this phrase is 'less and less' to indicate that something is decreasing (i.e. It's getting less and less expensive to buy a computer.)

Examples:

  • It's becoming more and more difficult to find a job.
  • Peter is getting more and more nervous about his final exam.