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More than one game was lost.

The singular form confused me.

Does "more than one" here indicate plural or "more than" itself emphasis some quality?

How should I parse this sentence to make sense?

  • I'm not sure it's logic as much as convention, to match the verb to the noun in the idiomatic expression. Note you can also say, More than a few games were lost. – Andrew Mar 20 '18 at 6:07
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Start with the simple case:

One game was lost.

This conforms to standard usage, singular game, singular was.

Now we want to say that not only a single game was lost, a likely context being that we are evaluating the success of a team, or a coach.

Losing one game might be bad luck, but more than one game was lost, this is not good.

We are treating more than as a modifier of the original one game was lost.

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