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What does "all the more" mean in the following? I cannot find its definition in the dictionary.

How does one go out on top and, all the more, do it with grace?

Here, the context is about a person who is leaving a position.

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You could paraphrase it with furthermore or moreover. It is similar to what's more.

He left, and what's more, he left in style.

But to my ear it's a little odd. I haven't really ever heard all the more used in that manner, and cannot recall any book where it was used that way.

When I've heard it used, it was used like this:

When a cool kid at school has such a widget, most kids will want one all the more.

He loved her all the more for her fiery temper.

and there it could be glossed as "even more" or "that much more". Lurking in this locution the more is an ossified instrumental-case comparative that has survived from a time when English was a declined language like its Germanic cousins.

  • Do you find the OP example a little odd as well? – Apollyon Nov 3 '18 at 8:28
  • The usage in your example is what I found odd. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 3 '18 at 8:29
  • Can it be rewritten as "How does one go out on top, and that with grace"? – Apollyon Nov 3 '18 at 8:31
  • That's grammatical, but it feels a little wooden / 18th century to me. ...and do so.... or ...and do it.... would be more natural in 2018. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 3 '18 at 8:31
  • But that could be my AmE ear. Someone living in Aberdeen or Glasgow might well find it natural. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 3 '18 at 10:00
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First, the essential meaning of the sentence (if the parenthetical information is removed) is:

How does one go out on top and do it with grace?


In this context, the phrase all the more could be replaced with the following phrases:

How does one go out on top and, furthermore, do it with grace?
How does one to out on top and, more than that, do it with grace?

To rephrase the sentence, it's saying this:

How does one not only go out on top but also do it with grace?


Update: In response to a comment left here, I conducted my own Google search and came up with many references to the expression.

Merriam-Webster:

: even more
// The fact that they'd written the play themselves made it all the more impressive.

Cambridge Dictionary:

even more than before:
Several publishers rejected her book, but that just made her all the more determined.

Collins:

All is used in structures such as all the more or all the better to mean even more or even better than before.
The living room is decorated in pale colours that make it all the more airy.
'How are you?'—'All the better for seeing you.'

  • "all the more" in this case cannot be found in the dictionary. Could you find a reference? – Apollyon Nov 3 '18 at 3:29
  • @Apollyon I didn't bother looking for it as you had already indicated you couldn't find it—and because I already understood the phrase as a native speaker. However, a quick search turned up multiple references for me, which I've added to the answer. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Nov 3 '18 at 3:46
  • The examples of "all the more" you found are used differently from the OP example; they are all followed by adjectives. – Apollyon Nov 3 '18 at 4:41
  • Do you find the use of "all the more" in the OP natural? – Apollyon Nov 3 '18 at 10:09

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