be more to something than meets the eye

Mr Bones

Senior Member
España - Español
Hello, friends. This post is not to ask about the meaning of this expression, which I think I understand, but a grammatical point.

There is more to it than meets the eye.

I'm not sure, but I feel as if, grammatically speaking, there were something missing here, maybe a pronoun. Wouldn't it be more correct if the sentence were:

There is more to it than what meets the eye.

Am I completely wrong in thinking that there should be a subject before the verb meets?

Thank you, Mr Bones (and please, always correct my mistakes).
 
  • emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, Mr Bones, you are wrong! The addition of "what" would sound, for want of a better word, very "uneducated". I understand you want to put in a pronoun because you would need one in Spanish.

    Possibly, strictly grammatically speaking, there should be a pronoun in English, but in this phrase we don't use one.
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    Hello, emma. Yes, I agree that the sentence is correct without any pronoun because this is the way it's used and that's that. I was just wondering if, as you've said, strictly grammatically speaking, there shouldn't be a pronoun there, but I would never be tempted to put it in. Thank you, Bones.
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    The structure as we receive it may be based on the fact that, in variant, it was first used in verse, where its pronounlessness allowed for scansion:

    Of forests, and inchantments drear,
    Where more is meant then meets the ear

    From Milton. I'm assuming the quote reads "then" instead of 'than' for some 17th century reason I'm not familiar with.

    Hope that helps.
     

    arueng

    Senior Member
    CHINESE
    Hi, Mr Bones.

    Here is what I learned from the grammar book: "than" in your base sentence is called a "quasi-relative pronoun" and its antecedent is "it." Therefore, it is a pronoun by itself and acts as the subject of the verb "meets."
    There are many similar examples in English:

    Don't give more money than is necessary to the child.

    There is more to it than meets the eye.
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    Hi, Mr Bones.

    Here is what I learned from the grammar book: "than" in your base sentence is called a "quasi-relative pronoun" and its antecedent is "it." Therefore, it is a pronoun by itself and acts as the subject of the verb "meets."
    There are many similar examples in English:

    Don't give more money than is necessary to the child.

    There is more to it than meets the eye.
    Thank you, arueng. Great explanation. I didn't see you reply till today. Bones.
     
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