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The more ..., the less (Step2)
1st lesson: test
Here is, again, a construction which looks easy to learners but is often an opportunity for them to make mistakes.This construction expresses a parallel progression: the more... the more... / the less... the less... When one element of the comparison increases, lthe second one does too... If it decreases, the other one does too. Yet, sometimes an element increases, whereas the other one decreases. The construction is then almost similar.
The wording is misleading. It is a comparison, therefore a comparative should be used. (and is used!). Because of the word 'the' (here an adverb) preceding it, that structure is often mistaken for a superlative. It's not!
1) Comparative used with a verb:
The only difficulty lies in the word order... : The + comparative expression + subject + verb.
Make sure that you remember... The VERB is placed at the end of the clause.
- The more I know her, the more selfish I find her.
2) Comparative used with an adjective:
Here, the (very little) difficulty lying in the construction of the comparatives of adjectives is added to the other issue of the word order (In English, the verb is always placed at the end of the sentence).
(same structure) The + adjective in the COMPARATIVE + subject + verb.
- a : The taller he gets, the more professional he becomes at basketball.
In this example, 'tall' is a short adjective. The comparative is formed when you add "- er" to the short adjective => tall=> 'taller' => 'the taller...'
On the contrary, 'professional' is a long adjective and its comparative is built with 'more'.=> 'the more professional... '
-The higher he jumps, the more effective he is for his team!
- b : - The 'negative progression', ('the less... the less... for the two different forms of adjectives) has no difficulty at all.
- The less high you climb the mountain, the less difficult it will be for you. (word order)
3) Comparative used with a noun: well, well... That's when students forget what's most important: the WORD ORDER ! (Yet, it's the same!)
- The more food they take with them, the fewer items they will have to buy.
'Food' is an uncountable noun ( = that you can't count! = '(some) food') =>
the more + uncountable noun. (more + countables/ uncountables= expressing an increasing quantity)
On the contrary, ' an item' is 'countable'. (You can count items at the supermarket checkout!)
Then, it must be preceded by FEW => 'a few items'=> 'fewer items'=> 'the fewer items'=> the fewer + countable noun in the plural.
- The less petrol you start with for this long trip, the more times you'll have to stop to buy some!
- The more exercises you do before the test, the fewer mistakes you'll make.
* Irregular forms:
- bad => comparative form= worse - (superlative form - not used here!) = (the worst)
- good => better - (the best)
- far - farther - (the farthest) ( concrete distance)
far - further - (the furthest) ('abstract distance')
Well well! Here is the test... I know you'll overcome its difficulties quite easily... THE FORCE is with YOU!
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