Double Comparatives

Although many learners and teachers call the pattern THE LESS MORE -ER A , THE LESS MORE -ER B

double comparatives, it is actually used to describe how one thing increases or decreases in relations to another. The pattern, used to express proportion, consists of two clauses beginning with the + a comparative adjective or adverb. The bigger your income is, the more you spend. This pattern is used with adverbs as much as with adjectives. The faster we drive, the earlier we will arrive home. Kids! The older they get, the more trouble they become. [Notice the changing word order.]

More examples:
The more, the merrier. (proverb) The sooner, the better. The more experienced you are, the easier it is to find a job. The more books you have, the more difficult it becomes to find place for them. The more he talked, the more annoyed I became. The smaller the classroom is, the harder it is to keep a distance among the students. The larger the house (is), the more expensive it becomes to maintain. The less you eat, the more quickly you’ll lose weight. [Sometimes the verb be can be omitted.] The more tickets you can sell, the better. (i.e. the better it will be)
Works consulted: Cassell’s Students’ English Grammar. Jake Allsop. (ELBS Edition, 1986) Longman Advanced Learners’ Grammar. Mark Foley & Diana Hall (Pearson Education Ltd., 2003) A Communicative Grammar of English. Geoffrey Leech & Jan Svartvik (3rd Ed. Pearson Education Ltd., 2002)


However. ____________________________________________________________________ 6. ____________________________________________________________________ 2 . As I carried the shopping bags longer. 1. If I spend less. ____________________________________________________________________ 5. ____________________________________________________________________ 3. People become more tolerant as they grow old. I have more and more exams these days. ____________________________________________________________________ 13. We discussed this matter more. ____________________________________________________________________ 11. you move slower. I buy more and more books. ____________________________________________________________________ 14. we’ll get more sunlight. Dogs become less aggressive as they get older. ____________________________________________________________________ 12. Students become more nervous as they get closer to their exams. they became heavier. As I look after more cats every day. ____________________________________________________________________ 4. it becomes more expensive to supply cat food. Then it becomes more difficult to choose what to read. If I stay longer at home. ____________________________________________________________________ 9. so. I’ll save more money. Days get longer. ____________________________________________________________________ 2. I feel like moving less. they are harder to afford.Exercises Rewrite the sentences without changing the meaning. ____________________________________________________________________ 7. When you have more time. ____________________________________________________________________ 10. So. ____________________________________________________________________ 8. it became more complicated. When computers get smaller. You’ll become more fluent if you write more. I get more tired and sleepless.

15. 15. 3. the more nervous they become. 14. the heavier they became. The older people grow. 4. the less aggressive they become. 8. 3 . the harder they become to afford. 9. The more you travel. 1. The more we discussed this matter. the more tolerant they become. The more books I buy. The older dogs get. the more fluent you’ll become. 7. The more exams I have these days. the more difficult it becomes to choose what to read. The more time you have. The smaller computers get. The longer days are. The longer I carried the shopping bags. The more you write. The less I spend. the more money I’ll save. 13. the better you know the world. the more sunlight we’ll get. ____________________________________________________________________ Suggested answers to the exercises. If you travel more. 12. the more tired and sleepless I get. 11. The closer the students get to their exams. the more expensive it becomes to supply cat food. 2. 10. the less I feel like moving. 6. 5. the more complicated it became. The longer I stay at home. you will know the world better. the slower you move. The more cats I look after every day.

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