More...Than... Constructions

How to use "more...than..." constructions correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

This pattern is very commonly used with an adjective and a noun:

The Hulk’s strength and fury made him more destructive than a tornado.

However, many young writers seem to be unaware that it can also be used with two nouns or with two adjectives:

The tank was more an annoyance than an obstacle for the Hulk, who easily tossed it aside.

More a curse than a blessing, the Hulk’s super strength made it impossible for him to hold his favorite teacups.

More knowledgeable than intelligent, the kid could only recite Wikipedia facts without really understanding what he was talking about.

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.