More than one student knows the answer.

More than a student knows the answer.

What the difference between "more than one" and "more than a"?

  • 1
    Do you have any context or source for "More than a student knows the answer."? It doesn't sound natural. – user3169 May 19 '14 at 2:06
  • @user3169 Which one doesn't sound natural. I just want to know whether they are correct or not. – user48070 May 19 '14 at 2:26
  • 1
    I am refering to the second one. I'm trying to think of a context where this phrase might be used, but can't come up with anything. The first one is OK. – user3169 May 19 '14 at 2:35
  • @user3169 Is context required for this complete sentence? – Maulik V May 19 '14 at 3:58

'More than one' is like mathematical comparing, the same as saying ">1 student knows the answer." The phrase can be used with any number, not just one and it works the same.

'More than a' is used to compare qualities, not numbers. This phrase is not normally used in the example you gave. An example of its normal usage would be "Spot is more than a dog, he is my best friend."

Or "Bob is more than a man, he is a warrior."

Or for examples closer to yours:

"More than 10 students knew the answer."

"He is more than a student, he is a scholar."

| improve this answer | |
  • We also use it with an indeterminate number, such as more than a few, and with 1/x (where x<>2; we say more than half, not more than a half), such as more than a quarter, more than a seventh. – BobRodes May 19 '14 at 3:56
  • @SoupBones It might be better to point out explicitly whether More than a student knows the answer. is a good usage or not. I think the OP's second sentence and your "more than a" examples are not the same. – Damkerng T. May 19 '14 at 10:39
  • @Darnkerng I should have clarified, my example was not meant to be the same, but instead the more common and correct usage of "more than a." The OP usage is not common. – SoupBones May 20 '14 at 5:38

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