# 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. ### drinkwaterSenior 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. ### CopyrightSenior Member

Penang
American English
Go for #2 every time.

3. ### drinkwaterSenior Member

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

4. ### CopyrightSenior Member

Penang
American English
Let's just say odd ... not the way we normally say it.

5. ### aduranaNew 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 TompionSenior 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. ### drinkwaterSenior 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 TompionSenior 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. ### Rover_KESenior Member

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. ### BiffoSenior 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. ### drinkwaterSenior Member

Taiwan
Mandarin
Many thanks for all the replies!