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EN: twice bigger / twice as big

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by b.abybloom, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. b.abybloom New Member

    LILLE
    FRANCE FRENCH
    Is the following sentence incorrect ?
    " He was twice taller than his father"

    I have always thought that the only way of saying that was
    "He was twice as tall as his father"

    Or are both correct?

    Thanks for helping

    Bloom
     
  2. smurf25 Junior Member

    England, English
    I would say 'he was twice as tall as his father'
     
  3. Arcaani New Member

    Slependen, Bærum, Norway
    Norway - Norwegian/English
    I agree with smurf25, but as for the thread title, I would say "twice as large". I believe you have to use the "template" "<number> (i.e. twice, thrice, four times, a thousand times, etc) as <adjective in absolute form> (absolute being the "non-comparative" form of an adjective, for instance large, tall, small, thin, green, rich, etc...)
     
  4. Arcaani New Member

    Slependen, Bærum, Norway
    Norway - Norwegian/English
    So.... Twice as large. Four times as fat. Seventeen times as far.
     
  5. samavecelan New Member

    U.S. English
    But you could say twice bigger, I'm pretty sure, it just sounds...like something you're more likely to see in a poem or other piece of literature than hear someone saying in real life. Stick with twice as big, it sounds much better, more natural.
     
  6. b.abybloom New Member

    LILLE
    FRANCE FRENCH
    Thanks for answering guys.
    My intuition was right but I couldn't find anything about it in grammar books. I had taught it to my pupils but a very helpful colleague contradicted me in my back, which of I appreciated.

    thanks again.

    Bloom
     
  7. b.abybloom New Member

    LILLE
    FRANCE FRENCH
    Sticking with the same subject, can you say twice less big than?
     
  8. djweaverbeaver Senior Member

    English Atlanta, GA USA
    Hello, B.abybloom,

    I agree with what has already been mentioned. I'm not sure if this was by accident or not, but I would change a few things in last sentence of your post.
    "I had taught it to my pupils but a very helpful colleague contradicted me behind my back, which I didn't appreciate."
    Hope this helps.
     
  9. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    That sounds really odd to me… Why not simply twice as small as?
     
  10. floise Senior Member

    Quebec
    U.S.;English
    Hi b.abybloom,

    If you want, you can say 'two times bigger', 'three times faster', ' ten times smaller'. Here you use the formula:

    cardinal number (two, three, ten, one hundred, etc.) plus times plus the comparative form of the adjective. ('twenty times heavier')

    floise
     
  11. samavecelan New Member

    U.S. English
    Instead of "twice less," use "half as," as in "This plate is half as big," or "He is half your size"
     
  12. b.abybloom New Member

    LILLE
    FRANCE FRENCH
    thanks again everyone!
     
  13. beardfisher Junior Member

    Marseille, France
    French - France
    Hi
    I'm reopening this thread because my question is related to it.

    Aren't there any ways of translating "X fois moins + adjectif " else than putting it the other way around (X times + as + opposite adjective) ?

    Eg: I want to say "ma maison est trois fois moins grande que la tienne"

    I know I could say:
    - my house is thrice/three times as small as yours
    - your house is thrice/three times as big as mine

    Isn't there a way using "less" and the direct translation of the adjective ? (something like ...is thrice less big than ...)

    Thanks a lot in advance
     
  14. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    I'd follow floise's advice here: three times smaller. Edited to add: or a third the size of mine.

    There are times you could use less, for example Medication A is three times less effective than Medication B, but I don't know whether there's a rule associated with that, or whether it's simply a matter of how it sounds.
     
  15. radagasty Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    Australia, Cantonese
    There are two unrelated questions here. I agree that less can be used in such a construction, and the example you gave is a good one: 'three times less effective than...'. Whether or not less can be used is unrelated to the 'X times' construction though, and I think it is just a matter of how it sounds; 'less big' sounds strange, so 'three times less big' doesn't really work, but 'less effective' is fine.

    However, mathematically speaking, it is not clear what 'three times less effective' actually means. Consider the following:

    If medication B is as effective as A, then B has 100% of the effect of A.
    If B is three times (=300%) as effective as A, then B has 300% of the effect of A.
    If B is three times (=300%) more effective than A, then, logically speaking, B has 400% (= 100% + 300%) of A's effect (though many mean simply 300% by this).
    IF B is three times (=300%) less effective than A, then, logically speaking, B has -200% (= 100% - 300 %) of A's effect, which is not usually the intended meaning.

    I must say, this kind of phraseology does my head in, and I would advocate 'one third the size of...' or 'a third as effective as...', which makes logical sense and is mathematically clearer, except when meant to be taken in a figurative sense: His speech was a hundred times less eloquent that yours!
     
  16. beardfisher Junior Member

    Marseille, France
    French - France
    Thanks to both of you.

    I just wanted to know whether you could say it or not. However, I totally agree that it doesn't sound great, especially with the example I provided, but I would be tempted to use it in a figurative sense.

    Actually, saying "X fois moins" is as common as saying "X fois plus" in French. And yet, I agree here with Radagasty that mathematically speaking such a construction doesn't make any sense. It sounded wrong to me when I was younger. I even remember thinking the same (to me, "deux fois plus" meant + 200% too).
    But I would say that when it comes to French language, you have to forget about logic :)
     
  17. frenchifried Senior Member

    France
    English - UK
    All these are possible (and I am sure there are more ;)):
    My house is bigger than yours
    My house is two (or whatever the figure) times bigger than yours
    My house is twice as big as yours
    My house is twice the size of yours
    My house is three times (thrice) the size of yours
    My house is three times bigger than yours
    My house is smaller than yours
    My house is not as big as yours
    My house is not bigger than yours (which implies that the houses are about the same size)
    My house is a third of the size of yours (i.e. it is smaller by a third)
    My house is half the size of yours

    And so on . . .:)
     
  18. funnyhat Senior Member

    Michigan, U.S.A.
    American English
    For the record, "thrice" is almost never said or written nowadays. It's very archaic. We would always say, or write, "three times as [adjective]."

    "Twice as big" is very common in conversational English. "Twice as large" is a slightly more refined level of language and better for writing.
     

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