Where is the error in:

The more greatly a person's eating and the less the amount of daily exercise, the fatter and the more likely to develop heart disease the person is.

The options are:

  • The more greatly
  • the less
  • the fatter
  • the more

I believe the answer is only the more. It should say and more likely to develop....

What do you think?

  • 1
    "Greatly" is a very unusual word. English speakers would omit it and just say "The more".
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 17:54
  • 2
    Also, by parallelism, I assume that a person's eating is intended to be a noun phrase; but it is very unlikely in that sense. I can't think of a nominalisation that really sounds right there: I would say The more a person eats, and the less they take exercise.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 17:59

2 Answers 2


Very fun question! If the only options are the four you listed, then the error is “The more greatly” and the best fix is to change it to “The greater”, so that the first clause of the sentence is “The greater [some noun] and the less [some other noun],”. Note that you probably consider “eating” as a verb here but after my change, it is a noun (a gerund).

As mentioned in the comments, “greatly” is very unusual. But as a technicality you could keep “The more greatly” and consider “is eating” (or “’s eating”) as a present continuous verb, and you would just need to change the second part of the first clause to a verb in the same tense as well – like “the less they are exercising daily”. However, this feels extremely unnatural.

  • The answer according to my teacher is The more greatly as you said. It is a think about the parallelism between the two sentences because in the other sentence we have the less. Also, I agree with @JasonBassford that a native speakers never use this phrase. Greetings from Mexico! Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 20:22
  • The more greatly is unidiomatic.
  • The less a person's eating can't logically result in them getting fatter.
  • The fatter a person's eating is nonsensical in almost any context I can think of.

By the process of elimination, that leaves only one choice that is grammatical, logical, and idiomatic:

  • the more

Note, however, that none of the word choices produces a sentence that is idiomatic.

In short, it should be written like this:

The more a person eats and the less they exercise daily, the fatter they are and the more likely they are to develop heart disease.

As it's currently written, it's extremely awkward and not how any native speaker would phrase it. The actual answer aside, it's a very poor example of an English question.

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