This topic is taken from Advanced Oxford Grammar by M. Swan. I'm just struggling as to how to use them and literally translate them into my native language sense. Some online dictionaries label them as idioms when it combines with comparatives.

Collin E.g. 1) nobody is any the wiser/someone is none the wiser means someone has failed to understand.

Collin E.g. 2) the worse/none the worse for sth means someone has been harmed/has not been harmed.

From these two examples, I conclude that I can't make my own (all/none/any/much + the) + comparatives, except "all the" which is explained in the book that some fixed phrases with all the means even more because of it, is that correct?

My question is (assuming my assumption above isn't correct), is it possible to use any of them generally (to compare two or more things) without bothering whether they could have different meanings, for instance:

  1. The new OS is much the better than the old one.
  2. He is any the more handsome than the rest of us.
  3. Those ladies are none the uglier than I've seen so far.

When I made those sentences above, I didn't think of any idioms, that means I only use them to compare things. That's my point. Is it allowed? Please feel free to tell me about the ungrammatical structures.

1 Answer 1


I'm afraid your sentences don't work.

  1. The new OS map is much better than the old one. OR

The new OS map is much the best of all those available.

  1. He is more handsome than the rest of us. (adding any the doesn't add anything to the meaning.)

  2. Those ladies are no uglier than the ones I've seen so far.

You can't invent your own expressions like that. There are certain fixed idioms such as none the worse for, all the better for, but you can't just add the to any comparative.

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