Quotation from the press:

Dr Christopher Hand, a lecturer in cyberpsychology, says the more details people disclose, the less sympathy we express when things go wrong. This could be due to a belief that we attract our own negative experiences the more we share them. It seems that sadfishing, the idea of searching for sympathy by oversharing, is generally perceived as negative rather than the cry for help it could actually be.

We have read many "the more...the more" pattern. Usually we believe when there is "the more", there must be another "the more" or comparative structure to complete the phrase. But here we don't see the second comparative. How should we understand the phrase quoted in bold? Does it mean the same as the more we attract our own negative experiences, the more we share them? Thank you

  • 1
    The more we share them, the more we attract our negative experiences. Oct 19, 2020 at 9:01
  • Welcome to ELL. Good asking practice for a first timer here. Keep it up. Oct 19, 2020 at 9:03
  • Hi, and welcome to ELL. Please take the tour. Great question!
    – Davo
    Oct 19, 2020 at 14:24

1 Answer 1


The cited example is syntactically fine for native speakers. It might help to imagine there's an implied but unstated extra word plus comma...

1: We attract our own negative experiences more, the more we share them.

It's worth pointing out that all permutations of the more and the less are perfectly idiomatic when both elements of the juxtaposition are explicitly stated...

2: The more I work the more I earn
3: The more I worry the less I sleep
4: The less I work the less I earn
5: The less I worry the more I sleep

BUT if only one element is explicitly specified, it has to be the second one (regardless of whether it's the more or the less), and the implicit but unstated "change of degree" in the first element is always more...

6: Global finance gets confusing, the more I study it (gets more confusing)
7: He talks sensibly, the less he drinks (talks more sensibly)

It's also worth pointing out that in OP's specific example, the preceding sentence features a "fully specified" instance of the more [details] / the less [sympathy]. On purely stylistic grounds it's probably better not to repeat the full construction twice in successive sentences.

  • Thank you very much ! The explanation is very clear!!!! Oct 21, 2020 at 7:13

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