Can I omit the word "people" after "more and more", taking into account that "people" had already appeared in the same sentence?

This is my case:

He thought that, if he portrayed himself as a kind of prophet fighting a crowd of unbelievers, the skepticism of the people would diminish and more and more would accept his account as something that really happened.

  • 3
    Yes, you can definitely omit "people." "More and more" is a pronominal phrase there, functioning just like the redundant noun phrase "more and more people."
    – Gustavson
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 0:14
  • 4
    But somehow when I read this, it seems like something should be there. I would at least use "more and more of them".
    – user3169
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 1:08
  • 2
    @user3169 I think one would feel prompted to add "of them" if the antecedent were more specific, not the generic "people," for example: "He thought that if he ... the skepticism of his followers would diminish and more and more of them would accept..." Notice that "more" is the comparative of superiority of "many," and "many" can be used alone to mean "many people," for example: "His third novel is regarded by many (=a lot of people) as his best."
    – Gustavson
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 1:51
  • "Notice that "more" is the comparative of superiority of "many," and "many" can be used alone to mean "many people," I like this explanation. It is quite convincing.
    – Simplex11
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 5:17

2 Answers 2


You can omit people because of its proximity to more and more is understood to refer to people

skepticism of the people...more and more

if instead you had

the people's skepticism... more and more

it would usually be understood to refer to skepticism, without additional context


You could omit people if it were clear that "more" is an adjective in this sentence. The reason I would advise against it in this case is that "more" also has meaning as an adverb, which in this case looks like it could be modifying the verb accept. We then end up looking for the subject of accept, and the obvious choice (syntactically) is also the subject of the verb diminish, namely, skepticism. But semantically, that's nonsensical.

In the end, there's only one meaning for the sentence that makes sense, and that meaning is the one you wanted to convey; but you run the risk of making some of your readers have to read the sentence twice to figure it out.

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