FR: plus de / plus que

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by french4beth, May 3, 2006.

  1. french4beth

    french4beth Senior Member

    I always get these two expressions confused!

    From what I understand, plus de would be used for something that you can count; plus que is for something more general (?).

    Could someone please clarify? I don't have a specific example, this is just a general question...
    (I have no context :eek: - I hope no moderators read this post :eek:)

  2. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    It's "plus de" plus a number, otherwise "plus que".


    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2012
  3. french4beth

    french4beth Senior Member

    Thanks, Timpeac... hmmm - that's what I thought, but when I checked my Harper Collins Robert for plus que, they gave examples such as 'il ne restait plus que des miettes' and 'il n'a (guère) plus que huit jours de vacances' and 'plus que 5 kilomètres à faire', all of which are countable (is that a word in English :confused: ).
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2012
  4. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    Both are " que". The second is short for "il ne nous reste plus que 5 km à faire" eg "only 5 k to go!" (the sense of the "que" is "only")

    I think if you compare "il nous reste plus de 5km" and "il ne nous reste plus que 5 km à faire" you can see that "plus de 5 km" is a unit in the first and and the "plus" goes with the verb in the second. Consequently it would be "il ne nous reste pas plus de 5 km" (and so the "plus de 5 km" is a unit again).

    Interesting question that I've never thought about before, so let's see what others say too!!:)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2012
  5. 1234dom Senior Member

    Je pense que l'on dit "il n'a plus que huit jours de vacances" mais "il n'a guère plus de huit jours de vacances' :)
    Are you sure "il n'a guère plus que huit jours de vacances" ?
  6. french4beth

    french4beth Senior Member

    My bad :eek: - in HRP (ibid), it's: "il n'y a (guère) plus que huit jours de vacances" but the phrase 'plus que' is used in the sense of 'seulement'.

    Any additional explanations are welcome (in addition to the above, of course!).
  7. Radar Member

    Worcestershire, England
    English, England
    Is there a rule about using 'plus de' instead of 'plus que'? Today in Le Monde: "Plus d'un cancer sur deux est guéri en France." My instinct would be to put 'que' instead of 'de' here as I would associate 'plus que' with 'more than' and 'plus de' with 'more of'.
  8. amande2 Senior Member

    France and French
    well "plus que" is either used when you compare it to something else
    "Bill en a plus que Mary"
    or when there isn't much left
    "il n'y a plus que 2 pommes"

    While "plus de" is just used to say more than a certain figure.
  9. frostie

    frostie Member

    How about - There were more than a 100 people at that party?

    Il y avait plus de cent personnes à la fête.
    Il y avait plus que cent personnes à la fête.

    A Google search says both are correct (with "plus de" giving more results), but I know intuitively there's a difference between the two, it's just that I can't put my hand on it.

    the Google searches:
    plus que
    plus de

    So, what do you French native speakers have to say?
  10. Full Stop Member

    French (France)
    We'd say "Il y avait plus de cent personnes à cette fête" ou "plus d'une centaine de personnes".
    "Plus que" creates a risk of confusion with the expression "(ne)... plus que". "Il ne restait plus que cent personnes sur six cents à la fin."
    We would understand it, but it's not what we would say.
  11. blurb111 New Member

    Et qu'en est-il de:

    Il est plus que temps!
    Plus que tout, j'aime le chocolat!
    Plus que jamais!

    Je ne sais comment expliquer l'usage de plus que plutôt que plus de à mes collègues anglophones...
  12. HecateTs Member

    True French here XD !

    Ok, there is a really different meaning and I feel like you're all confused. So here's some examples. Hope it will help.

    Structure 1 :There is only
    Il n'y a plus que 10 jours de vacances => He only has 10 days left.
    Il n'y a plus que 5 km à faire => There're only 5km left to do.
    [Ne (n') + verbe + plus] + que + proposition => Only + verb + proposition + left

    That's what happened in :
    ll n'a (guère) plus que huit jours de vacances' and 'plus que 5 kilomètres à faire',

    Structure 2 : There is more ... than ... - Comparison
    Not to mix up with:
    Il fait plus chaud ici que là
    Plus + proposition A + que + proposition B => More ... than ... (Basic comparison)

    Which can become :
    Il y a plus [d'enfants qui naissent en France] que [d'enfant qui naissent en Allemagne] chaque année
    Plus (de quelque chose) + que + (de quelque chose d'autre) => More (of something) than (of something)

    And so "Il y a plus [de nourriture] que [ce que je pensais]" is also ok (More (of something) than (proposition: what I thought))

    Structure 3 : More than /
    No more than - Evaluating values
    Il y a plus de 3 chats ici (There is more than 3 cats here)
    Il n'y a pas plus de 3 chats ici (There's no more than 3 cats)

    So the confusion comes that "plus" means "more" and "only/no more/not anymore" in French. That IS disturbing, I know. When talking, French do pronounce the final "s" for "plus" meaning "more", and do not pronounce it when meaning "only" or "no more/not anymore" (il n'y a plus de lait, there' no milk anymore). This is why I guess you mixed up structure 1 with structure 2 and 3.

    Structure 2 and 3 might be confusing as I realize in English it sounds like the same structure: it just depend on if your making a guess on some numbers/headcount, or if your really comparing stuff.

    Good luck in studying Franch, you are really courageous !
    Hope I was clear.
  13. Lovism New Member

    I think the general confusion here is not due to structure 1. Structure 1 is not really the 'plus que' that make ppl confused w 'plus de'. Structure 1 is a combination of '' and 'ne...que' to express the equivalent 'anymore' + 'only' in english. It d be more helpful to see this structure as '' + 'que'. So english speakers use this to express 'only...left.' Structure 2 is not what makes ppl confused either; that is the standard comparative structure.

    What english speaking people want to know is how to translate 'more than...' when accounting for a quantity, as in 'more than half a loaf of bread' or 'more than 10km' (not 'more...than', not 'only...left', just purely 'more than ...'). So naturally we nonfrench speakers go with 'plus' + 'que'. But most often we see the usage of 'plus de', so it will be like 'il a parcouru plus d'une moitié de la distance'. But if 'plus de' is used for this kind of expression, then what about 'more (of)', as in 'can i have more bread/water pls?' Is 'plus de' still used here? Does it mean the same 'plus de' can used for different kinds of expression? And, going bck to 'more than...', can 'plus que' be used in some instances in place of 'plus de' (again im NOT talking abt ' que')?
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2015
  14. marget Senior Member

    If you want to ask for "more bread or water", meaning "Can I have some more bread or water", I think that "encore du pain/ encore de l'eau" can be used.

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