THE + comparative phrases ‘The more you have, the better it is.’

In the English Grammar Profile, B2 point 56 in the category of DETERMINERS and articles is defined as

“the” in comparative phrases ‘more’, ‘less’, ‘worse’, ‘better’ * the more’, ‘less’, ‘worse’ *

to talk about one thing that is affected by another.

comparative clauses

For example:

The broader the sentiment across business, the more influence and power there is to make change.

timesnewsgroup.com.au

 

The more guns there are here, the more likely there is to be a misunderstanding.

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The more members of your party who vote, the more likely you are to win an election.

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The more pressure you‘re under, the harder it gets.

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The less you know, the better off you are.

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The stronger the issues, the more powerful the catharsis.

The tighter the pack, the stronger the wolf.

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A search on iWeb for the _rgr shows that ‘the more’ is much more common than ‘the less’

Chart by Visualizer

Unfortunately, iWeb does not allow a search for ‘the more * * * *’ because there are so many.  But it does allow us to look for lemmas for ‘less’.  What we find is that ‘likely’ is very commonly followed by a pronoun and BE. Also, note that ‘less’ or ‘more likely‘ is B2 modifying modality.

1 THE LESS LIKELY YOU are TO 1289

The longer you wait to begin the less likely you are to find it at all.

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2 THE LESS LIKELY THEY are TO 1028
3 THE LESS LIKELY IT is THAT 722
4 THE LESS LIKELY IT is TO 579
5 THE LESS YOU WILL HAVE TO 267
6 THE LESS TIME YOU HAVE TO 264
7 THE LESS LIKELY YOU WILL BE 198
8 THE LESS LIKELY WE are TO 179
9 THE LESS LIKELY IT WILL BE 167
10 THE LESS CHANCE YOU HAVE OF 146

Therefore we can try a search for ‘The more likely _p _v * *’

The more likely +

1 YOU are TO GET 621
2 IT is TO BE 579
3 IT is THAT THE 543
4 IT is THAT YOU 530
5 YOU are TO BE 506
6 YOU are TO HAVE 355
7 THEY are TO BE 348
8 IT is THAT THEY 277
9 YOU are TO FIND 258
10 THEY WILL BE TO 211
11 YOU WILL BE TO 197
12 IT is THAT A 191
13 THEY are TO HAVE 187
14 IT is THAT YOUR 185
15 IT WILL BE THAT 167
16 IT is YOU WILL 149
17 IT is THAT 144
18 YOU are TO MAKE 131

19 THE MORE LIKELY YOU are TO DEVELOP 127

The higher your score, the more likely you are to develop heart diesease.

 

20 THE MORE LIKELY IT is TO HAVE 119


the _jjr

1 THE LOWER 447389 

*Looking at clusters to the right, we realise this is common as a description ie ‘the lower part of the screen‘.

A check for comparative collocates up to 4 spaces to the right: 

HIGHER (but the structure found does not match) 1551

BETTER (there are hundreds of examples with nothing between,

again this does not match ‘to talk about one thing that is affected by another’)

The lower the better.

This requires that we manually look through clusters:

THE LOWER THE VALUE, THE

The lower the value, the more fearful investors are.

THE LOWER THE SCORE, THE

THE LOWER THE RATIO, THE

THE LOWER THE TEMPERATURE, THE

2 THE BETTER 336470

THE BETTER OFF YOU WILL BE

The more you have, the better off you will be.

3 THE HIGHER 238581

*’score’ and ‘value’ are common between ‘lower’ and ‘higher’ collocates.

 THE HIGHER THE NUMBER, THE 1683
THE HIGHER THE SCORE, THE 513
THE HIGHER THE VALUE, THE 443

THE HIGHER YOU GO, THE (*here we have a clause)

The higher you go, the more food you have to eat.

 

4 THE LARGER 215024, 5 THE OLDER 160039, 6 THE GREATER 149957, 7 THE SMALLER 147521, 8 THE BIGGER 112245,

9 THE LONGER 106472, 10 THE EARLIER 92513, 11 THE YOUNGER 86767, 12 THE WIDER 82097, 13 THE LATER 76663,

14 THE NEWER 65464, 15 THE BROADER 51592 (no * * * * clusters to the right could be found), 16 THE FASTER 34636,

 17 THE WORSE 32584, 18 THE SHORTER 31356, 19 THE EASIER 30881, 20 THE STRONGER 28470

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