Bài 36: So sánh kép (Double comparative)

Double comparative

English grammar lesson 21.Topic: double comparatives
“The more, the merrier”.

My husband often complains that we live in a cold climate.

But I don’t mind because here in New England we have sunshine almost every day.

And the brighter the sun , the happier I feel.

The opposite is also true: the less sun, the worse I feel.

Is this the same for you? Does the amount of sunshine make you feel the certain way?

In this lesson  I’d like to help you learn how to express cause and effect.

That's the relationship where one thing makes a change in another.

One thing produces the result in another, like the sunshine making me feel happy.

To express cause and effect, we’re going to use comparative forms.

Words like brighter, happier

So if you’re ready, let’s begin because the sooner we start, the sooner we finish.

I like to make sure you understand cause and effect.

In the sentence: “The brighter the sun, the happier I feel. Where’s the cause? It’s here, in the first half. That means the effect or the result. It’s here in the second half.

What I’m saying is that when  the bright sun I’m happy and if the sun is brighter I’m even happier.

You’ve just heard me reverse the sentence that’s because in English we can express cause and effect with more than one structure: “The brighter the sun, the happier I feel.”

Can also be written like this:

When the sun is brighter, I feel happier. Or: If the sun is brighter, I feel happier. Or: Brighter sun makes me feel happier.

Let's look more closely at the grammar. In the one sentence we have a comma that separates two ideas: the cause and the effect.

And each half of  the sentence we have a subject is what we're talking about.

What’s the subject in the first half? The sun

What’s the subject in the second half? I

Now let's talk about verbs.

In the second half, we have “I feel”, subject- verb. If you  look back the first half, where’s the verb?

It’s not written but can you guess what it is? Do you understand?

It's the verb “is”. This structure allows to leave out the verb if it’s a form of the verb “be”. It’s understood: The brighter the sun, the happier I feel.

It may help to see structure presented like this: the two halfs are separated by a comma.

It’s a sentence so we must end with a period.

Both have to begin with “the” plus a comparative form of a word.

The comparative is followed by a subject and verb that  remember if the subject and verb can be understood without an  actually writing or saying them we can leave them out.

The verb is left out, a form of the verb “be” as in : The brighter the sun, the happier I feel.

When the subject is left out, it's the word like “it” or “there” a word that simply help that states the existence or the state of something as in the brighter, the better =the brighter (it is), the better (it is).

I keep using the term comparative forms. Do you understand what I mean?

In the sentence: The brighter the sun, the happier I feel. The two comparative words are brighter and happier.

They describe things, so the adjective brighter describes the sun, happier describes me.

Are there the only kind of words that haven't comparative forms?

No. In the second sentence: The less sunshine, the worse I feel. The comparative forms are less and worse. Worse can be used like an adjective or adverb. Less is the word that answers the question how much?

So comparative forms are used for adjectives, adverbs and words that answer the question how much? or how many?

I think it would be a good idea right now to have a quick review of comparative forms.

Do you agree? Let’s go on.

Comparative adjectives are often formed by adding the ending “er” as in brighter. But there are couple spelling rules we need to remember.

If the adjective ends in “y”, we change the “y” to an “i” before adding “er” as in happier.

If an adjective ends in consonant-vowel-consonant, then we double the last consonant as in hotter.

Some adjectives have irregular form: bad becomes worse.

And with longer words we place “more” in front of the adjective as in more difficult.

The word “more” is also used to form many comparative adverbs as in more quickly

Some adverbs share the same form as adjectives: fast- faster could be either adjectives or adverbs.

In the adverbs that have irregular forms, for example: well becomes better.

Now let’s talk about the words more and less.

“More” is the comparative form of many and much. “Less” is the comparative form of “little”.

These words that answer “how much” and ‘how many” can be placed before a noun as in the more knowledge, the better or they can stand alone as in the more, the better.

Let’s summary what we have learned so far by looking at the very common saying: “the more, the merrier.”

Have you heard it before? Do you understand? I’m going to have my friend Julie explain what it means.

Julie, do you know the expression “ the more, the merrier.”?

Yes, I do.

Can you tell me what do you think it means?

The more, the merrier…I would have to say…the more , the merrier…It would be like if i were saying…(or) inviting you to a party…And you said, “ Oh, I’ll come.”

"Oh, great! The more, the merrier"

The more people, the better the party will be. Yeah.

The more guests, the more fun?

yeah, the more guests, the more fun.

The more work


The more food


The more noise!

The more noise. Yes. The more food. Yes, but it’s all worth it

And Julie said “ the more, the merrier” means the more (there are), the merrier (it is).

In this sentence the subject and verb will be left out at both half of the sentence.

because they understood. We have two comparative forms: the more is a cause, the merrier is an effect.

What we're saying is when there are more people, it is merrier (it's more fun) or if there are more people, it is merrier (it is more fun).

Exercise 1

Explain the meaning of the double comparative by rewording the sentence.

Let’s start with an example:

The bigger the party, the more food you must prepare. We need to rewrite the sentence using the word “when”: When you have a bigger party, that’s a cause. Now what is the effect or result? The more food you must prepare.

Now try number 1:

The noisier the parties got, the more the neighbors complained.

Can you rewrite the sentence with because? The neighbors complained more because the parties got noisier.

2. The longer you stay up, the more tired you’ll feel the next day.

Can you rewrite the sentence using “if”?

If you stay up longer, you’ll feel more tired the next day

3. The more fun you have, the more memories there will be.

Let’s rewrite the sentence using “leads to”

Here the little hint (-ing)

Having more fun leads to having more memories.

Exercise 2

Complete the idea with your own words. See if your ideas are similar to Julie’s

Julie, are you willing to play a game?


Okay. You know the expression “ the more, the merrier? Right?


Okay. I’m going to give you the first half of a sentence.


And then you say the second half of the sentence with whatever idea you’d like.

Okay. So if I say, for example, “ the more…” you say “the merrier”


1. The older you get,…

What did Julie say? Let’s find out.

The older you get, the more experienced you are. Ok . The more oder you get, the more experienced you are. I like that one.

2. The more money you have,…

Now what do you think Julie said?

The more money you have, the more problems.

The more money you have, the more problems. Ok.

3. The bigger the problem, ….

What did Julie say? Let’s listen.

The bigger the problem,…oh geez…the bigger the problem…the smaller the solution.

The smaller the solution? The bigger the problem, the smaller the solution…

The bigger the problem… Sometimes when you have a problem…sometimes it’s easy to fix it.

So big problems aren’t really big problems.

Right. It can easily be fixed with something small. That’s a good one.

4. The bigger the dream,…

Now let’s listen to what Julie said.

The bigger the dream,…

The bigger the dream, uh…the harder you have to work. That’s a good one. Right?

The bigger the dream, the harder you have to work…

To get there.

Do you find that to be true?

Yes, I definitely do. You have to shoot for your goals, you know? And to get there it’s going to take a lot of work.


Exercise 3

Consider each common saying and its meaning.

Can you think of a situation in which you’d use each saying?

1. The sooner, the better.

2. The bigger they are, the harder they fall

3. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

4. The more you know, the less you understand.

5. The more you get, the more you want.

6. The more you stir, the worse it stinks.

Additional practice for this lesson is available at: englishcafe.com. My user name is Jenifer ESL followed direct link lead to video description.

Well, that’s all for now, but remember the more you practice , the more easier it gets.
Happy studies!

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