It's more trouble than it's worth.

If these sentences have the same structure as "he is a doctor," then "it = trouble" should work. However, in practice, I think it means 'it is not worth the trouble', which implies 'the work has more trouble than the worth'.

So, If "It" is "the task", then I don't think "the task = more trouble."(I think that the correct is the task is troublesome.) "troublesome" is an adjective.

I guessed that "of" is omitted in this sentence. If that is correct, I think that the original sentence is "it is (of) more trouble than ...".

e.g.) of great interest = greatly interesting ※"of" + adjective + abstract noun = adverb(from adjective) + adjective(from noun)

What do you think? Is my guess correct?

meaning (from Cambridge Dictionary/ Collins Dictionary)

trouble: slight problems or effort (noun)

troublesome:giving trouble or anxiety / difficult (adjective)

more trouble than : it is not important or useful enough to make an effort doing it

Example ("of" + adjective +"trouble") The report is of “great trouble and shame. (IBC BREMEN)

ONE FEMALE PRISONER IS OF MORE TROUBLE THAN TWENTY MALES. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3789896

it is of much trouble to clean such medical soil reservoirs. CN201019954Y - Mobile toilet seat for bone fracture patient - Google Patents  

1 Answer 1


The answer is, No.

It's more trouble than it's worth can be rendered perfectly naturally as It is more trouble than it is worth: there is no "of" involved.

This use of "trouble" (uncountable, meaning "effort" or "bother") is relatively uncommon, but it occurs in some other common expressions:

If it's not too much trouble ...

No, it's no trouble!

If you take the trouble to ...

They went to some trouble to ...

Of the examples you quote, the first is a different construction (a report of, not of trouble), and the others are not idiomatic English, and are either mistakes, or written by non-native English speakers. It is of much trouble is doubly deviant.

  • Thank you for your answer. Is this the same for "It's more headache than it's worth."?
    – Ran
    Dec 30, 2022 at 23:47
  • That is not idiomatic, because when we use headache in this sense it is countable; so we might say It's more of a headache than it's worth. The of is required because more a headache has a different meaning that will not fit in that context.
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 31, 2022 at 10:31
  • OK. When we use "more a headache", what is the meaning of the sentence ? Does the "headache" in "more a headache" means a pain of a head?
    – Ran
    Dec 31, 2022 at 16:30
  • If you use more a headache the sentence is nonsense. The only way to use that phrase is something like This is more a headache than a benefit, with the parallellism between a headache and a benefit. In some circumstances this might mean roughly the same as the previous sentence, but it only makes sense if there is an expectation (or statement) that whatever it is is a benefit.
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 31, 2022 at 16:33
  • Thank you!  Is the following understanding correct? Examples where "of" can be omitted in combination with the indefinite article + countable noun (a headache), as in "more a headache than" ⇒ "B" in "than it's B" has similarity to headache as in "than it's benefit" and there is an expectation that whatever it is is a benefit.  Usually, "more of an A than B" is used, as in "more of a headache than it's worth". In this case, the expectation that whatever it is is a benefit is not implied, so it can be used in any case. (1/2)
    – Ran
    Jan 1, 2023 at 1:51

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