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With more than $3 billion in box-office revenue, these fan-favorites rank among the highest-grossing films of all time.

In the highlighted text, how do we parse this?

Thinking about it, I can only assume that 'more' is a noun in this case. My reasoning is that it follows a preposition that needs an object, and 'than' already has '$3 billion' as an object.

If we compare this to another sentence, we can see a different parsing of comparatives:

She is better than him.

In this sentence, 'better' is an adjective modified by the prepositional phrase 'than him'. Compared to the example above, this is quite simple.

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  • Why is it different? "better than" and "more than" serve exactly the same role, where the objects are "him" and "$3bn in box-office revenue". Nov 5, 2021 at 14:29
  • @DanielRoseman They are both adjectives but one is comparative and the other is not.
    – Lambie
    Nov 5, 2021 at 20:13
  • @DanielRoseman It's different because 'than' is said to be a preposition or conjunction, which — using the argument of it being a preposition — makes '$3 billion' the object. If this is the case, 'with' (another preposition) doesn't have an object, and it clearly isn't adverbial. 'More' can function as a noun — 'tell me more' — so I am wondering if this fills the role of object. The latter example, on the other hand, features an adjectival subject complement (better), which is modified by the prepositional phrase 'than him'. The object is clearly defined, and there is no room for confusion.
    – MJ Ada
    Nov 6, 2021 at 17:31

1 Answer 1

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In 1), more than means: an amount greater than or over $3 billion. It is an adjective.

More
ADJECTIVE
Full Definition of more (Entry 1 of 7)
1: GREATER
something more than she expected

The function here is not a comparative. It is merely adjectival. It's descriptive: He has less than $10 in the bank. less than=not a comparative. It means an amount under $10.

With more than [over, an amount greater than] $3 billion in box-office revenue, these fan-favorites rank among the highest-grossing films of all time.

A comparative would be: She is better than him. [or than he is]

Merriam Webster_ more

In "She is better than him:. she is being compared to him. And it is a comparative form of the adjective good. Something is good. One thing is better than another.

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  • Would you therefore say that 'than' is adverbially modifying 'more'? This would make '$3 billion' the object of 'with'. In my opinion, this doesn't match anything I've read about the syntactic function of 'than', which is observed as either a conjunction or preposition. I understand the overall adjectival meaning, of course, but I don't think this answer provides the detail that I'm looking for. Feel free to disagree; I'm open to having my mind changed.
    – MJ Ada
    Nov 6, 2021 at 17:25
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    @MJAda "with [something: more than 3 billion] is a prepositional phrase. "more than x" here is semantically the same as: With an amount greater than 3 billion or with an amount over 3 billion. more than, greater than or over function adjectivally. They describe the amount.
    – Lambie
    Nov 10, 2021 at 16:54
  • Would you describe this as a case of ellipsis, then? The object of 'with' is omitted?
    – MJ Ada
    Nov 10, 2021 at 18:10
  • @MJAda No, nothing is elided at all: |with more than three billion dollars|| is a complete phrase. "With" is the preposition and "more than 3 billion dollars| is the object and "in box office revenue" is a second prepositional phrase.
    – Lambie
    Nov 10, 2021 at 18:43
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    You keep repeating the same thing over and over. Sentences aren't parsed using single words only. So looking up single words often will not reveal anything. Look at the Merriam WebsLog In Definition of ter entry in my answer: more than = greater than. That entry says adjective. Here's the entry for MORE THAN in MW: more than idiom more than: : to a great degree : very : extremely Please call me anytime. I'm more than happy to help (out) in any way I can. That is not "more than 3 billion dollars"
    – Lambie
    Nov 11, 2021 at 22:13

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