If you include the word "more" in a sentence without "than" in spoken English, would it be valid? Example: a talk about steps how to resolve environmental issues.

I'll get into them in more detail later as I progress through the talk.

Some say that do not use comparative adjectives such as, more, better and so on without "than" in a sentence/clause, because it would be ungrammatical. However, in the above sentence, it sounds right. Is this an exception?

  • 2
    Whoever says that doesn't know what they're talking about. "I'd like more coffee, please." "Yes, I'm feeling better, thank you." Feb 2, 2019 at 18:17
  • Hello there, I know you are great at English, but one of them is a native English teacher emphasizing that I should include that in my WRITING. Maybe to spoken English but not in writing. Do you agree with that?
    – John Arvin
    Feb 3, 2019 at 2:46
  • 1
    No, in no way at all. While than can and should be used in some cases, it doesn't need to be and shouldn't be used in other cases. Feb 3, 2019 at 2:50

2 Answers 2


This sentence is completely fine. It would seem weird to squeeze some comparison in unless it isn't obvious from context.

I'll get into them in more detail (than I am now?) later as I progress through the talk.

I would like more drink (than I have now?), please.

With the than just sounds unnatural, especially in the second sentence.

I would, however, like to correct your preposition usage. While into is fine, I would use just to here:

I'll get to them in more detail later as I progress through the talk.

  • "Get into" is a phrasal verb there. Could you please expound your preference as for the "get to" usage? Or you just want it like that. There is a bit of a gray area there...
    – John Arvin
    Feb 3, 2019 at 3:06
  • 1
    It isn't that there is anything grammatically wrong with "get into [something]", I personally have just heard "get to [something]" more when talking about addressing something. Either is probably fine.
    – Robert W.
    Feb 3, 2019 at 20:56

English, in practice, often drops comparators (that's not, as far as I'm aware, a grammatical term; I'm borrowing its use in various academic disciplines, public policy and so on, for "the thing to which something is to be compared). If the comparator is obvious from context, you don't need to say it - and often saying it comes across as wrong.

"Why do you think A's more attractive than B?"

"He's taller."

Obviously, this is saying that A is taller than B, but including that would be unnecessary and can make it seem strange.

Similarly, when making an argument, presenting a talk, and so on, you will often make comparisons that seem, just from the words used at that time, to be missing their comparator, but everyone knows what it means, so it's unnecessary. Adding the comparator would break the flow, and leave everyone wondering "why did they bother to say that?".

I would say the general rule is not to use "than" expressions and other comparators unless necessary. We'd get horribly bogged down if we couldn't say "I'm stronger now", which is the same grammatically as any "more" expression. "I'm stronger now than I was" is unwieldy (though occasionally preferable for aesthetic reasons), and even that is actually missing a location in time. "I'm stronger now than I was a year ago" should only be said if there's some significance to "a year ago" in the context, and in fact would often end up being shortened to "I'm stronger now than a year ago", which if you try to parse it makes no sense unless you add an unwritten "I was".

However, if you use language of comparison and the comparator isn't obvious from context, it will read as wrong.

  • This is maybe in spoken English, where it's sometimes "unnatural" to include "than". How about in writing? Where you have to follow grammar rules particularly.
    – John Arvin
    Feb 3, 2019 at 3:01
  • 1
    Spoken and written English both have grammar rules. But "always have a comparator for comparatives" just isn't one of them. "More on that below" is common in formal writing. "A more persuasive argument" turns up a lot as well. Quite simply, it is not true that every use of a comparative word needs an explicit indication of the basis of comparison.
    – SamBC
    Feb 3, 2019 at 9:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .