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for example:
(1) X is much the more common than Y.
I don't understand the role of "the" here.
What does "the" mean in (1)?

(2) X is much more common than Y.
What's the difference between (1) and (2)?

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  • much the more is not standard and is up there with: I don't know where they are at.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 2, 2023 at 16:27
  • The first makes you sound like a British person in the 1800s.
    – BigMistake
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 2:29
  • I find "much the more common" to be non-standard. I would never use it. Comparatives go like this: X is much more common than Y. OR X is much commoner than Y. Up to two syllables, one can just add er.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 29 at 17:39

2 Answers 2

0

(1) is not commonly said, and even though listeners will understand you, they will consider it an incorrect way of speaking.

(2) is correct.

Say:

Example #2 is much more common than example #1.

However, it is OK to directly compare two things with "much the more", without using "than":

Of the two examples, #2 is much the more common.

If it helps, try removing "much" from the two sentences and seeing if it makes more sense:

"Of the two examples, #2 is the more common." (correct)

"Of the two examples, #2 is much the more common." (correct)

and

"Example #2 is the more common than Example #1." (incorrect)

"Example #2 is much the more common than Example #1." (incorrect)

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  • What is the difference between "Of the two examples, #2 is much the more common." and "Of the two examples, #2 is much more common."? Thanks.
    – Loviii
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 1:23
  • 1
    They mean exactly the same thing, no difference in meaning.
    – BadZen
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 1:25
  • Can I put "the" before "much": "Of the two examples, #2 is the much more common." ? Thanks.
    – Loviii
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 11:40
  • 1
    Yes, "number two is the much more common" is perfectly acceptable. Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 21:27
  • "Of the two examples, #2 is the much more common." and "#2 is the much more common example" are also both fine. All of these mean the same thing.
    – BadZen
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 22:33
-1

"X is much the more common than Y" makes sense if it is understood that X and Y are some object or thing, such as a phrase, and that thing is only implied, as in "X is much the more common (phrase) than Y. As such, it means exactly the same as "X is much more common than Y."

However, it's an uncommon usage and would identify the speaker as having intellectual pretensions.

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  • You may have a peccadillo regarding the phrase, but it has enjoyed consistent use from the mid-19th century through the present in both American and British English. Based on use-source it clearly does not signal "intellectualism", not is its use exclusively or even mainly academic. Please support your claim that use would "identify the speaker as having intellectual pretensions" if it is really anything other than a hastily made hip-shot opinion.
    – BadZen
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 22:44
  • Also please clarify what you mean by "that thing is also implied". (does "that" refer to "thing X" or "thing Y"? How is it "implied"? Please give illustrative use.)
    – BadZen
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 22:45
  • @BadZen - I already provided an example, where *(phrase)" indicates the word would be left out and implied, rather than explicitly stated. I suggest you do an ngram search on a phrase such as "much the more common". You'll see declining usage since about 1900, and if you examine recent usages you'll see that all of them are in textbooks and other "serious" publications. Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 14:24

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