Why was there no conjunction used in sentences that contain words such as more or better

  • The deeper you fall, the more likely you are to neglect your basic needs
  • The more power you have, the more enemy you get.
  • The better job you have, the more money you earn.
  • 1
    I dont understand your question (it is phrased grammatically incorrectly) can you make it clearer thx
    – DialFrost
    Apr 19, 2022 at 5:04

2 Answers 2


I presume you are asking why there is no use of 'that' as a conjunction, ie:

The bigger (that) they come, the harder (that) they fall.

The word 'that' can often be left out. For example, both of these are fine:

It is a shame he can't find a job.
It is a shame that he can't find a job.

One case where you cannot omit it is if the word is at the beginning of the sentence, for example:

That he can't find a job is a shame.

  • The bigger (that) they come, the harder (that) they fall. why there is a comma before 'harder'? where is the verb of the main subjects 'the bigger' and 'the harder'?
    – MBR
    Apr 19, 2022 at 9:27
  • @mbr A comma can be used like a conjunction, to join connected ideas. Like in a conjoined list. You'll find this in lots of idioms, such as "easy come, easy go".
    – Astralbee
    Apr 19, 2022 at 9:48

Like most "why" questions about language, the answer is "because that's the way English is".

This is a well-established construction in English, and has parallels in other European languages, for example the well known French epigram plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose ("The more it changes, the more it is the same thing").

The pattern is

The [comparative] [subject] [predicate], the [comparative] [subject] [predicate].

where {comparative] can be a simple comparative adjective or adverb, or a phrase including a comparative qualifier: all your examples are of the latter.

It does not allow much variation in that pattern, though if both predicates are forms of "be", they can both be omitted, eg "The bigger the risk, the greater the return". Unlike French, English requires the article "the" in both sides of the construction.

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