How much is the sun heavier than the earth? / How much heavier is the sun than the earth?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by drinkwater, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. drinkwater Senior Member

    Taiwan
    Mandarin
    Hi. Can anybody tell me which of the following sentences is correct(while I think both are correct) and more common:

    How much is the sun heavier than the earth?

    How much heavier is the sun than the earth?


    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    Go for #2 every time.
     
  3. drinkwater Senior Member

    Taiwan
    Mandarin
    Hi, thanks a lot. So the first one is wrong?
     
  4. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    Let's just say odd ... not the way we normally say it. :)
     
  5. adurana New Member

    British English
    well first one doesn't seem to be wrong grammatically, but go for the second one, or you can use weigh for 1st one instead of heavier
     
  6. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    You can use the first formula if you put a by at the start of the sentence:

    By how much is the sun heavier than the earth?

    That would be asking for the difference (s - e) rather than the factor of difference (s/e), which is what the second question is asking.

    It may be pedantic to say that as the notion of weight is dependent on the gravitational field of Earth, a comparison of the kind suggested is strictly meaningless, however you try to express it.
     
  7. drinkwater Senior Member

    Taiwan
    Mandarin
    I guess if I want to be physically more precise, I have to say "how much heavier is the sun's mass than the earth's?"
     
  8. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    I think the logical taboo falls on the word heavy. I suspect it needs to be How much greater is the sun's mass than that of the earth?
     
  9. Please use standard English as an example to other students, adurana.

    You seem to be saying that the first sentence could read 'How much is the sun weigh than the earth?'

    As a native speaker you must know that doesn't make sense.

    Rover
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  10. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    No. As TT says this is incorrect.
    It is possible to speak of the weight of a mass. Example: If a certain mass of steel weighs 1 kilogram on Earth, how much will it weigh on the Moon?

    However this does not apply in orbit. An astronaut floating in orbit around the Earth has a mass but is effectively weightless.

    The Earth is in orbit around the Sun so it does not have a weight.

    I agree with TT's formulation:

    How much greater is the sun's mass than that of the earth?
     
  11. drinkwater Senior Member

    Taiwan
    Mandarin
    Many thanks for all the replies!
     

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