4

Google Search shows 765,000,000 results for "more than what". So, assuming that A is "standard" English, I wonder if B is really acceptable, or not.

A. I love English more than others do.

B. I love English more than what others do.

If B is acceptable English, are there circumstances in which we must prefer this one to A?

4

First, I'd be careful about using Google results to make generalizations about English. Google results will include pages like blogs (where amateur writers often don't even proofread their own work) and song lyrics (which don't always follow the rules of grammar).

It's better to do the search on Google books, which will return results from published works.

You can find several instances of "more than what" on Google books, but the usages are much like these:

History is more than what happened in the past.

What you gain is worth more than what you lose.

People can feel guilty when they receive more than what they consider they deserve.

You may want to start a negotiation by asking for more than what you think is fair.

In short, I wouldn't insert a what where it wasn't needed. In the "more than what" construct, what is actually a word that is tied to what follows. Let me write those four sentences again, only this time, I'll denote what the "more than" refers to in parentheses:

History is more than (what happened in the past).

(What you gain) is worth more than (what you lose).

People can feel guilty when they receive more than (what they consider they deserve).

You may want to start a negotiation by asking for more than (what you think is fair).

It's worth mentioning that none of those sentences would sound sensible if the word what was removed.

So, you might say:

I love English more than what other people are saying.

but, if you are simply comparing your ardor with the enthusiasm of others, you should say:

I love English more than others do.

  • 2
    I don't find "I love English more than what other people are saying" very "acceptable". That "what" is completely unnecessary - and as @trideceth12 says, just sounds ignorant rather than informal. – FumbleFingers Feb 10 '13 at 1:19
  • @Fumble: I'll grant you that it sounds rather forced; I was trying to work it into the original example. That said, I would probably reword it to, "I love English more than other people say," but, if you leave the end of the sentence as "are saying," then I think the what can fit there. – J.R. Feb 10 '13 at 4:30
  • Perhaps I just nit-pick more than what you do. :) I see what you mean though - in some contexts interpolating "what" does seem less noticeable to me. In "I paid for more than what was delivered", say, it's still unnecessary. But it doesn't raise my hackles so much as "I love you more than what I can say." – FumbleFingers Feb 10 '13 at 15:56
  • @Fumble: I agree with everything you say here, although I think "I paid for more than was delivered" sounds a little off to me. But I appreciate your initial comment, which made me realize I hadn't worked out quite as good an example as I had originally thought. – J.R. Feb 10 '13 at 16:46
2

If you wanted to sound uneducated you would choose option B.

It is not an uncommon expression, and completely understandable, but it really does sound uneducated.

  • Exactly - it's not an unknown form, but most people recognise it as seriously "uneducated". Google Books reports 6740 instances of "love you more than he", but none at all for "love you more than what he". That second link is to just 7 instances on the whole Internet. It ain't proper English. – FumbleFingers Feb 10 '13 at 1:15
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The sentences you used as example have different meanings. In the first, you are saying that, among other people, you are who loves English more; in the other sentence, you are saying that, between English and what other people do, you love English more.

In your example, what is a relative pronoun meaning "the thing(s) that"; you cannot remove what without changing the meaning of the sentence, or making it not correct.

-1

In the original question, B is correct. This is because "others do" is a phrase in itself. In the case of A, you could say "I love English more than others." or "I love English more than other people.".

  • Actually A is correct and B is not... – WendiKidd Feb 10 '13 at 4:39

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