Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Consider:

There is much more to preventing employee crime than background checks and traditional audits. It's not just about the employees you don't know; some of the biggest crimes are committed by long-tenured employees who have gained the corporation's trust.

--When the Cat’s Away by Doug Karpp Link

I understand the first sentence this way:

As to preventing employee crime, there is much more than background checks and traditional audits.

I think preventing is a gerund here. Preventing employee crime couldn't be semantically in parallel with background checks and traditional audits.

Is my understanding correct?

And I ran across this sentence before:

There is much more to the universe than meets the eye on earth.

Does this have the same structure as the former one? Can you please adjust these two to a more straightforward version or template?

share|improve this question
    
Yes. It's [There is more to X than Y]. (Y is checks and audits in the first example, and (that) meets the eye in the second.) –  Damkerng T. Jul 7 at 14:51
    
I knew that; I'm more interested in the form of X and Y. @DamkerngT. Obviously, these two examples don't have an one-on-one relationship. –  Kinzle B Jul 7 at 14:53
1  
I think of X and Y as things. X is a thing, Y is another thing (in this pattern, Y is part of X). –  Damkerng T. Jul 7 at 15:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Your parse is correct.

The underlying idiom is [quantity Y] to X, meaning X consists of [quantity Y].

a hundred cents to the dollar
two cups to a pint
ten millimeters to a centimeter

With measures like these you may also say in X (“two cups in a pint”), and when you are talking of properties of X you use of (“five stages of growth”); but when X is a target or goal, you use to, often with steps as the Y:

Six Steps to Success
Three Steps to Better Health

(Note that this is not the same as [quantity Y] for X, which does not imply that the Y units are sufficient to achieve X, merely that each contributes to achieving X. And it is not the same to which is used with infinitives: Three ways to improve your health.)

You may also use indefinite quantifiers like some Y or a few Y, or comparative quantifiers like more/fewer than [quantity] Y or more/fewer Y than [quantity].

There are [more than two cups] to a quart.

And of course any such quantifier can also be employed as a pronoun, with the ‘unit’ Y understood. That’s what is going on in your sentence; indeed, the notion of units has dissolved into something uncountable like activity, so the verb becomes singular.

There is [much more than background checks and traditional audits] to [preventing employee crime].

Finally, the sentence has been rearranged to put the focus on the inadequate checks and audits.

share|improve this answer
    
The underlying thing is always treasure. I can discern sth embedded in this comparative sentence but cannot find out. Now I see the light. Thx so much! –  Kinzle B Jul 7 at 16:24
    
@CoolHandLouis Oops. Thank you. –  StoneyB Jul 8 at 7:08

Is my understanding correct?

Yes.

I think preventing is a gerund here.

Correct.

Preventing employee crime couldn't be semantically in parallel with background checks and traditional audits.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by in parallel. They are definitely not equivalent, but they are related. Background checks and traditional audits are ways to accomplish (or at least attempt) the prevention of employee crime, but they are not the only ways.

There is much more to the universe than meets the eye on earth.
Does this have the same structure as the former one?

Yes, more or less: there is [much] more to [something] than [something else].

Can you please adjust these two to a more straightforward version or template?

There is more to [noun] than [things] means that noun includes things, but also has significant or substantial other, possibly unmentioned, components or aspects. Things does not describe or encompass the entirety of noun, and often (though certainly not always or even most times) when we make this statement, things represents the most obvious, facile or naive portions of noun.

share|improve this answer
3  
+1 I think OP's "parallelism" issue goes to the question (not so obvious to a learner as it is to us) of whether the underlying structure might be "There is more to preventing crime than [there is] to background checks". –  StoneyB Jul 7 at 17:13
    
Thanks, that's a great insight. I was rooting for some sort of parallel construction there but couldn't figure it out. –  Esoteric Screen Name Jul 7 at 17:18
    
I think that "There is more to preventing crime than [there is] to background checks" is not the same as "There is [much more than background checks and traditional audits] to [preventing employee crime]." The former doesn't suggest X is part of Y; they could be different things with different constituents, right? @StoneyB –  Kinzle B Aug 3 at 15:09
    
@ZhanlongZheng Quite right –  StoneyB Aug 3 at 15:18

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.