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The question below is from my English exercise book

Choose the one option - a, b, c or d - that best fits each of the numbered blank.

David Evans is a farmer. He does farming on his own land in Wales. The farm has belonged his family for generations. The soil is poor. David raises sheep on his land. He does not employ any full-time workers. His sons help him when they are not at school. His wife adds to the family income by selling eggs which her hens produce. In summer she often takes paying guests into the farmhouse. The guests from the city enjoy their quiet holiday in the clean country air and Mrs. Evans enjoys having some (1)___ money to spend on clothes for her children and herself.

a) more
b) free
c) extra
d) interest

I can easily eliminate option b) & d) but I just can't understand why option c) is chosen as the correct answer by the book. Does "have some more money to spend on something" sound natural to native English speakers?

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The reason "more" is not correct is because Mrs. Evans doesn't ever imply that she doesn't have enough money. To say you need more suggests that you actually need it. You're comparing it to what you already have verses actually adding to it.

To have "extra" of something means that it may or may not be leftover. Let's say I want to go on a trip, and I set a budget of $1000, but I might want to bring some extra money, just in case.

At the end of the day, yeah.. it truly is more money, but the word "more" is a comparative word while "extra" is an accumulative one.

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It is very important to understand what this exercise asks of you. You are not to provide a correct answer, but the one which best fits the blank. Any of "more," "extra," or even (with a tortured interpretation) "free," could be grammatically correct (or sound natural, as you say) but your task is to find the best fit.

The choice of Option C as "best fit" here depends upon context. You are expected to have read and understood the entire paragraph. The little "story" in that paragraph tells us that Mr Evans is a Welsh farmer who can't afford to hire any help on his farm. This point is reinforced when we learn that his sons help when not in school, and his wife also does her small part by selling eggs, and by taking in tourists from the city on weekends. You are expected to understand the contrast between the relative conditions of the well-off boarders from the city and the poor Welsh farm family. This is not just a dry narrative about a farmer adding a few pence to his meagre accounts.

"Extra" is the best choice for (1) because it sounds a little stronger than "more" to an English speaker. For "Extra," one dictionary has: "beyond or more than what is usual." "Extra" carries with it the implication that it is not just more, but a special, and even a little unexpected, boon. "Extra" implies "All that you expected, and then more!" "More" means merely "Add to the quantity."


I hope that you have copied this line from your English exercise book in error:

... that best fits each of the numbered blank.

If that is really what is printed in your book, I advise you to reconsider using it as a learning resource. If it was provided by an instructor, I advise you to bring the error to that instructor's attention.

  • Do you mean, if she enjoys having more money to spend on clothes, she really needs more money because the amount of money she currently has is not enough to buy clothes? And if she enjoys having extra money to spend on clothes, do you mean the amount of money she currently has is quite enough to buy clothes, any extra money will be used to buy more beautiful clothes for her family? – doquan0 Jul 24 '16 at 4:49
  • @doquan0 The important distinction is between the meanings of more and extra. Read your dictionary and see if you can understand the difference between them. They are not synonyms. They do not have the same meaning. – P. E. Dant Jul 24 '16 at 5:02

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