The more, the better

  • yourfairlady05

    Senior Member
    USA
    English - United States
    I've heard "the more, the merrier" more often, and it's a commonly heard phrase in English. I think if you had to pinpoint a subject and a verb you could say that they are both hidden or implicit. The idea is that "the more people there are, the better" so the subject being "people", the verb being "are". It doesn't have to just be people, it depends on the context, but it's usually spoken in the context of parties.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Could be analysed in various ways, but you could think:

    [The more] = subject
    [relational verb omitted]
    [the merrier] = complement

    Meaning, the more = the merrier. And as yourfairlady05 has noted, the subject and complement can be expanded into clauses themselves.

    This is an unusual structure, but quite a productive one.

    The more he protests, the more I'll insist.
    The bigger, the better.
     

    hya_been

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    That's not a sentence. I'd say fragment. We don't have a subject. If it was

    "The more candy, the better".
    Then it'd make sense.

    As for "The more, the merrier." Even though it's a saying, it's still a fragment.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I think maybe you could consider it a sentence with an implied subject and predicate. It would generally stand by itself. You could always restate it as "More is better than fewer." As to the question "more of what?" that would depend on the context.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    That's not a sentence. I'd say fragment. We don't have a subject. If it was

    "The more candy, the better".
    Then it'd make sense.

    As for "The more, the merrier." Even though it's a saying, it's still a fragment.
    I think there is a subject. The is always used before a noun, so more is now substantive (a noun), and 'the more' functions as subject. (Cf. the poor, the haves.)
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    In Old English, the two thes were not articles but demonstratives with different case endings. In modern English, we have to fill in words to express what used to be in the endings. No verb was necessary:

    the(1) = so (much), subject.
    the(2) = that (much), complement.

    The more, the better = So (much) more (is) that (much) better.
     
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