Grammar Concepts: More X than Y

ielts-grammar-more-thanI’ve seen numerous students making mistakes in usage of “More X than Y”. This is a common grammar construction that we often fail to use correctly. Let me explain it today for ELTEC’s IELTS and GMAT students.

A few days ago I read a post on Facebook. It contained the following sentence:

She is more wise (X) than clever (Y).

This is wrong! How? Let me explain.

Better version is “She is more wise than she is clever.”

This construction can take two forms: 1. One subject two qualities/ activities. 2. One quality/ activity and two subjects. (I do not mean grammar’s subject.)

Common structure for first version is – (Subject) MORE (Quality) THAN (Subject) (Quality)

Look at following sentences:

Wrong: They talk more than work.

Correct: They talk more than they work.

Wrong: This product is more produced than consumed.

Correct: This product is produced more than it is consumed.

Similarly, I like reading more than watching television.

The second version looks something like this: Anna is more wise than Chris is.

Quality is WISE, Subjects are Anna and Chris. Plain and simple right.

Okay. Here are a few more sentences with suitable explanations:

“Plants are more efficient at acquiring carbon than fungi are.”

Two subjects (Plants and Fungi) and one quality (Acquiring Carbon).

“India is emitting more carbon dioxide in atmosphere than permitted under United Nations framework.”

Two subjects (India and United Nations Framework) and one quality/ activity (Carbon dioxide emissions).

“Analysts expect automakers to set dividends more conservatively than they have been setting.”

One subject (Dividends) and two objects (conservatively and ‘than they have been setting’)

Please feel free to ask any doubts. You can email me at

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