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Comparative - proner or more prone?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by agliagli, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. agliagli Senior Member


    I was amased recently to find out that you can use both "proner" and "more prone," but is there any rule to know when to use "proner" instead or "more prone"?

    ex1: he is a proner character to represent bladibladi bla...
    ex2: she is more prone/or proner (?) to act likewise...

  2. pyan

    pyan Senior Member

    Vendée, France
    English, UK, London
    What an interesting question! I have never heard "proner", but according to the "rules" I was taught 50 years ago "proner" should be fine as a comparative.

    Example 2. She is more prone to mistakes now she is old.
    She is more prone to be sensible nowadays.
    She is more prone to act sensibly than is her sister.
    She is more prone to act politely than rudely.
  3. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    I don't believe that there is any such word as "proner". I have never, ever heard it in my 52 years and there is no reference to same in any of my dictionaries. Where did you "find this out" agliagli? Honestly, I think you've been misled...
  4. Stefan Ivanovich Senior Member

    Paris, France
  5. agliagli Senior Member

    Thank you for your answers. Yet, I have these sentences before me:

    1) " MTO immobilized on oxidized supports was proner to leaching than non-oxidized supports during α-pinene epoxidation with hydrogen peroxide."

    2) "Fertile women are proner to the onset of autoimmune diseases than men, but...etc."

    Is it only used in science to explain something?
  6. Reina140

    Reina140 Banned

    I wouldn't use proner either. I've never heard that word before and Dictionary.com and MerriamWebster.com do not recognize it.
  7. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    I add my voice to those for whom "proner" sounds strange.
  8. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    We have heard it for North America from a 52-year-old Canadian that he has never in his life seen the form "proner", and I, as an ancient Englishman just about old enough to be his daddy, have never come across it either, only "more prone". However, I do not doubt that the examples given of its occurrence are genuine, but think that this has come about because English is now the universal language of science and technology, as was once German and before that Latin. This means that a great deal of scientific English is now being written by non-native speakers, whose usage may not always coincide with that of the standard language. Even native speakers may subsequently be influenced by such variations used by foreign colleagues (and particularly by superiors!). Admittedly, medical and technical people have their their own jargons and the English language in general changes more rapidly than any other I am familiar with.
  9. agliagli Senior Member

    1) Another example: "The Inhabitants rude and scatter'd, and by that the proner to War, he so persuaded as to build Houses, Temples and Seats of Justice; "

    from The history of Britain ^_^ by Alasdair Bradley (c)

    2) And from a literary text: "We still grow apt and proner to repeat— The hideous reputation of her name Should,..."
    3) ...clemency infinitely proner to absolve than to condemn.
  10. Porteño Member Emeritus

    Buenos Aires
    British English
    I can't find it anywhere either and I've certainly never heard it before and I can give Dimcl a few years!
  11. Ecossaise Senior Member

    Yes, well, if you will quote 17th and 18th century texts! It seems that if the word existed in the past, it is thoroughly obsolete now. None of the Dictionaries list it as a word.
  12. agliagli Senior Member

    Well... all these abstracts were "online," which means that the form "proner" is still in use, but does not seem to follow any peculiar "rule." (mostly in medical language)

    To sum up, it would it be safer ("more safe?"... ^_^) to use "more prone" than "proner"? (honestly speaking, "proner" also sounded awkward to my ear, but then, I thought of the English grammar rule that says that the superlative of a monosyllabic adjective is formed by adding a -er to the root.... and "prone" is the first I found to be an "exception"... :-/ )

    Thank you all! ^_^
  13. Porteño Member Emeritus

    Buenos Aires
    British English
    There are other exceptions but none come to mind just at this moment.
  14. JamesM

    JamesM Senior Member

    Here are a few exceptions to the rule. This is by no means an exhaustive list. They use "more" and "most" rather than "er" and "est", even though they have one or two syllables:


    And here's a previous thread that includes a great chart.

    Also, let me add one more vote for never having encountered "proner" before. :)
  15. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Not so. The fact that a word appears on a 21st century medium does not mean it is used in 21st century English.

    The OED does not include proner among its definitions, but it does cite one example:

    Sounds like proner is both rare and archaic.

    Googlexamples of proner are almost all reverences to someone called Proner.
  16. agliagli Senior Member

    Sorry for self-quoting, Panjandrum. I have seen the examples you are mentioning, but if you had investigated a bit more on Google, you would have found these ones:

    The first (<= this is not to forget about the subsequent ones! ^_^) answer that partly convinced me was provided by Arrius...

    By the way, thank you for your correction Porteño. ^_~* (any more correction to my English is welcome!)
  17. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I did.
    I was looking to see if I could find a reasonable number of modern examples of proner used by native English speakers.

    I didn't find many. Not enough to suggest that this is routinely used.
    That bit of very sketchy research, supported by the BNC and the OED, and of course the fact that more prone is available, are enough to persuade me.
  18. Jigoku no Tenshi

    Jigoku no Tenshi Senior Member

    Valencia - Venezuela
    Hello everybody!

    Now it's when I hesitate, what happened with the rule about comparatives?, I say "taller" and not "more tall", and both are adjectives, both have one syllable, so the same rule should apply, shouldn't it? I'd go for the grammar rules, but it seems to be like the case with "still lifes" or "mouses"(for computers) when the rules are not applied, because that's the way people talk
  19. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    You're right Jigoku. No matter what the "rules" are, if people don't commonly use what seems perfectly logical (grammatically), then it is apparent that they are not native-speakers. The logic of "tall" being "taller" is flawless yet it does not apply to "prone" and if you were to say "proner", you would be immediately identified as a non-native-speaker (or a native-speaker who failed his childhood English lessons!). The old adage is often true - Rules are made to be broken!;)

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