I saw this sentence in the Collins English Dictionary.

He is more than a coach, he is a friend.

Can this sentence rephrased into, "He is a friend more than a coach " or "He is not only a coach but also (he is) a friend " without change of meaning?

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    No! your rephrased version doesn't mean the same thing! The original He is more than a coach, he is a friend means that in addition to being a coach, he's a friend too. If there's any suggestion that one of those labels applies more than the other, it's that he's primarily a coach (that being his default designation). But your rephrasing explicitly says that "friend" is a more appropriate description than "coach", which implies he's primarily a friend. Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 17:23
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    As for the lack of a conjunction, I'd say that role is effectively being performed by the comma (where the contrast introduced there could be more emphatically conveyed by a semicolon or a dash - or even a period before starting a new sentence. There's not normally any more explicit "conjunction" function word in such contexts. Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 17:38
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    There are two main clauses separated by only a comma. It would be better to separate them with heavier punctuation such as a semi-colon or even just a dash.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 17:58
  • In this particular sentence, I would probably use a colon in place of the comma: "He is more than a coach: he is a friend." The colon can indicate that the following part of the sentence is a kind of 'explanation' of the preceding, and the clause "he is a friend" does serve to explain how he is "more than a coach." Commented Jul 1, 2023 at 18:18

1 Answer 1


This is frequently called a "comma splice", which is often considered incorrect. However, people tend to have widely varying opinions about commas, so many people would consider this sentence to be fine, especially in casual contexts. I would instead recommend a semicolon, which more typically connects main clauses. (Other options are also possible, as mentioned in comments above.)

If you insisted on including a conjunction, then I'd recommend the following (using correlative conjunctions), as you suggested:

He is not only a coach but also a friend.

However, your other suggestion ("he is a friend more than a coach") changes the meaning. The original sentence says that being a friend is in addition to being a coach but is not necessarily true to a greater degree. This suggestion says that being a friend is true to a greater degree than being a coach.

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