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from ell.stackexchange.com:
(1) Of the two examples, #2 is the much more common.
(2) Of the two examples, #2 is much the more common.

Am I right that?:
"Much" in (1) and (2) is an adverb.
"Much" in (1) functions as the modifier of "more".
"Much" in (2) functions as the modifier of "is".

Is there any difference between (1) and (2)?
If not, then why is the order of "much" and "the" not important?

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  • (2) sounds stilted to me. It would sound better if changed to "Of the two examples, #2 is by far the more common." (1) also sounds odd, and should probably be changed to "Of the two examples, #2 is much more common (no definite article)." Aug 5, 2023 at 5:37
  • You're correct that the word much is an adverb in both versions. I would agree that it modifies "more" in (1), but I'm not positive about what it modifies in (2). I don't think it's "is," because that's a linking verb, which doesn't usually get modified by adverbs. I think in (2) that "much" is still modifying "more," even though the order is changed, although again I'm not certain. Good question! Aug 5, 2023 at 5:40

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