that meets the eye...??


Hello everyone,
I've seen quite a lot of example sentences like "There is more than meets the eye." but I've never seen this one:
There isn't more that meets the eye.

It was one of the passages and questions I've got from the english teacher and I asked one AE native speaker go through this but he also said it was fine.

However, I keep thinking that maybe it should be 'than', not 'that'.
Am I wrong? and if the sentence is correct, what would be the meaning like?
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  • kayokid

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Hello. What follows is my opinion about the two related expressions.
    First of all, "There's more here than meets the eye" is a fairly common set phrase which is used and understood. (It means, more or less, that there is something hidden -- that the total "meaning" is not apparent. That is, that there is some data which we don't have.) The second sentence is a "play on words" of the first and nobody would ever say something like that unless they were making a play on words of the first sentence. It means: All the facts are present -- what you see is what it is.
    This is going to get wordy now... Think of the original sentence in this way: There is more here than that, which meets the eye. Your original first sentence is a shortened version of the sentence I just gave. Similarly, the complete second sentence is: There isn't more here than that, which meets the eye. Your original second sentence is a shortened version of the one I just gave. I, personally, think the sentence would be better using "than" but it is understandable as it is written. I hope this helps and doesn't confuse you...


    Thank you so much for the quick answer, kayokid :)
    I think I'm almost getting there with the meanings and explanations, but I'm still a lil confused.

    Does the second sentence gramatically correct, too??
    I've always learned that when I am comparing 2 things with 'more, less, etc' I do need 'than' to compare.
    In the second sentence, that is playing as the same as than?

    Or is it not really a comparative one since the meaning is 'what you see is what it is'? hmmmm...

    Imber Ranae

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    It's grammatically correct, but it doesn't quite mean the same thing as the first. "That" is functioning as a relative, as you'd expect, not as a conjunction of comparison equivalent to "than". "That" never means "than", though it's common enough for the former to be a typo of the latter.

    Without context it's impossible to tell you whether your sentence is correct or whether "that" should be replaced by "than".