1

In the example below could I say:

"I couldn't give her love and attention more than I did. I don't know why she despises me so much."

...instead of:

"I couldn't give her more love and attention than I did. I don't know why she despises me so much."

...and still make sense?

1 Answer 1

2

Yes, you can. Both are grammatically correct:

  • In the first sentence (your revision), the adverb "more" modifies the verb "give".
  • In the second sentence (the original), the adjective "more" modifies the nominal phrase "love and attention".

Therefore, the meanings are slightly different. To see that more clearly, let's consider two other sentences in which the semantic difference is greater:

Alice wants sugar more than Bob does. (We compare the intensity of their desires.)
Alice wants more sugar than Bob does. (We compare quantities of sugar.)

In your case, I think that most people would prefer the second (original) sentence, but the difference in meaning is actually quite minor.

Note that in each of your sentences, many authors would write "any more" instead of "more". However, that is not required.

3
  • Thanks a lot for such an amazing and detailed answer, Marcin. And also thanks for bringing out the semantic difference between the two sentences. I probably never would have noticed it myself.
    – Itamar
    Feb 12, 2022 at 10:59
  • 2
    @Itamar: Don't get too fixated on that "semantic difference". In your specific context, it's primarily an "artefact" of the way English syntax works, which potentially allows effectively meaningless distinctions to be extrapolated based on the choice of phrasing. But MarcInManhattan's excellent Alice/Bob example could easily convey a significant difference. Perhaps although Alice only wants half a spoonful of sugar, she's so particular about it she never drinks tea without sugar (whereas Bob usually has three spoonfuls, but if there's no sugar he'll still drink it). Feb 12, 2022 at 15:31
  • Thank you very much, FumbleFingers. Regarding the slight difference in meaning between the two sentences that I presented, I just wanted to point out how much I appreciated Marcin's answer, even for showing me this difference, which exists even when formulating the same sentences in my native language (Portuguese), but that I had not noticed it. Your in-depth analysis of the two sentences presented by Marcin was also excellent. Thank you very much.
    – Itamar
    Feb 12, 2022 at 20:30

You must log in to answer this question.

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