You only make this maze of life the mazier;

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Senior Member
When we say

eg There's A and B. A is the taller.

we are comparing to things, the full form being 'A is the taller of the two'.

There's a famous poem:

A line runs: You only make this maze of life the mazier;

I would not use THE, because it's simply conveying the idea of a level-up of maziness; why does the writer use THE?

(I understand poets have poetic licence, but this time it seems not to be so....
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Indeed, this time it has nothing to do with poetic licences. :) Sometimes 'the' can be used for no obvious reason - just for fun and to give some specific flavour to what is being said - maybe poetic, maybe old or archaic... So much the better that you are asking, though my answer probably leaves you none the wiser. :) Come to think of it, it is mostly in certain fixed expressions that 'the' is allowed to linger. :)


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    She tossed in "the" because it was necessary for the rhythm of the poem, that's all. (And "mazier" was a made-up term; she was engaging in word play.)


    Senior Member
    English - British
    Well, I am afraid I would have to disagree with some of the above.

    'Mazier' is the comparative form of 'mazy'. It means 'more mazy'.
    'Mazy', meaning 'maze-like' is a regular adjective. The OED says it is frequent in this figurative sense.
    mazy, adj. and n.
    a. Resembling or of the nature of a maze; full of windings and turnings; labyrinthine, convoluted. Freq. fig.
    The definite article is regularly used with the comparative, meaning 'that much more'.

    Greenberg: Modernism
    The further fact that this demonstration has left most of our old value judgments intact only makes it the more conclusive.

    Rwanda: The Politics of Turmoil
    the very scale of the tragedy makes it the more imperative to understand.

    Thus the line 'You only make this maze of life the mazier' means that the only effect of metaphysical inquiry is that it makes the puzzle of life that much more puzzling: and says it rather neatly.

    Lady Russell, who wrote the poem, was Bertrand Russell's grandmother. She did not encourage him in his philosophical interests. He remarks in his autobiography that when he raised the question of mind and matter, she said 'What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind'.
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    Senior Member
    -Much the more important part should be concerned with XYZ.

    Sometimes I see such things in books whose names I can't remember. Is THE MORE used in the same emphasizing way?
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