When a local restaurant changes its recipe for a particular dish, it may advertise by saying it is “Now Better!” But what happens if later they discover a further improved recipe? How would they communicate this? What is better than “better”? Some might say that the new recipe would be “more better.” Is that accurate?
It is incorrect to say “more better” to convey that something is “better than better” because it is redundant. The word “better” is a comparative adjective of “good.” “More” is also an intensifier. Thus, “more better” would be like saying “more more good.” Instead, you can say, “This recipe is better than the last one.”
Read more to discover why this is grammatically incorrect, and how you might use its more appropriate synonym in a sentence.
What Does “More Better” Mean?
“More better” is a grammatically incorrect phrase that means “more more good.” Those who use it intend to communicate that something is “better than better,” but use the wrong word to express this.
Though it is grammatically incorrect, you have likely heard “more better” used to describe something as being better than something else. For example, “You think your car is better than everyone else’s? Mine is more better!” is incorrect grammar.
“Better” is the comparative form of good. What is “better than better”? Technically, it is “best.” However, some will informally or sarcastically use the phrase “more better.” This is known as a double superlative or double comparative. It is grammatically incorrect because it means “more more good.”
In English, when you want to communicate degrees of comparison, you use adjectives in their comparative and superlative form. You add -er to the adjective for most one-syllable words to form a comparative. As an example, “large” becomes “larger.” Therefore, a cup that holds 44 ounces is larger than a cup with only 28 ounces.
If an adjective has multiple syllables (polysyllabic), like exquisite or courageous, you usually add the word “more” to the adjective. As an example, “courageous” becomes “more courageous, as in “The soldier was courageous in training, but when the war began, he became even more courageous.”
Saying “more better” is an unintentional attempt at creating a category between comparative and superlative. It also tricks our ears into thinking it is correct because “better” has two syllables. As such, we apply the polysyllabic rule and add the word “more” to our comparison.
We are trying to communicate that something is “better than better.” But you only say “more good” when using this phrase.
If you have made this mistake, though, do not worry. Even Shakespeare was fond of the double comparative. It is also associated with Appalachian English, African American Vernacular English, and Newfoundland English (source).
How Do You Use “More Better”?
“More better” is a combination of two comparatives and is thus redundant. You should not use it in everyday conversation or formal contexts because it is grammatically incorrect.
Imagine that you have made a good cheeseburger. Your friend, however, is not impressed. She says that she can do better. You are disappointed to learn that she did make a better cheeseburger than you.
Because you are competitive, you enroll in a cooking school and learn how to make a cheeseburger that will, in comparison, shame her creation. What word do you use to describe your new creation?
You are not trying to say that your creation is the best cheeseburger ever made. But now your “better” is better than her “better.” To convey this, some would say, “My cheeseburger is more better than her cheeseburger.” But this is grammatically incorrect.
A phrase like “more better” combines two comparatives to communicate a superlative. Therefore, you should not use an “-er” comparative ending and “more” in the same sentence to convey a comparison.
In the above scenario, it would be sufficient to say, “My cheeseburger is better than her cheeseburger.” The word “than” signifies comparison in the sentence. You only need to use the comparative “better” to make your point. There are other alternatives which we will describe below.
To understand the comparative form, read this article: Simpler or More Simple: Understanding the Comparative Form.
Another phrase similar to “more better” is “more cleverer.” To see how to use that phrase properly, read this: Cleverer or More Clever: Which Is Correct?
When Can You Use “More Better”?
You cannot use “more better” in everyday conversation or informal contexts because it is grammatically incorrect. Occasionally, one may use the phrase to be intentionally ironic or sarcastic.
Though incorrect grammatically, “more better” is a somewhat common grammatical error made by native speakers. You may have heard this phrase, and the person using the sentence is not aware of their grammatical error.
There are also times when native speakers intentionally break the rules of comparatives and superlatives to make a humorous point. For example, a native speaker might say, “I am going to school to learn to write gooder.”
As we have learned, the comparative form of “good” is not “gooder”; it is “better.” But this person intentionally makes that error to show their need for further schooling.
There is one instance where “more better” could be grammatically correct. In a hardware store, paint brushes are often labeled as “good,” “better,” or “best.” If a painter needs to increase his stock of brushes, he might tell an employee to give him “more better paintbrushes.”
In this instance, the painter uses the word “more” to signify an additional amount and not to signify the greater paintbrush. When “more” indicates a more significant quantity or a number and “better” does not function as a comparative, one could, technically, combine them into a grammatically correct sentence. But this is rare.
You may also find instances of double superlatives, like “more better,” in older English. This is because they were fairly standard in usage until the 18th century.
When Not to Use “More Better”
Because it is grammatically incorrect, you should almost always not use “more better” in a sentence. The only exception is if you intentionally use the wrong phrase for humor.
“More better” is one of the easier double superlatives to use. It will sometimes sound correct because “better” is polysyllabic, and our minds use the rule for creating a polysyllabic comparative. But we should be careful not to use this redundant phrase.
What Can You Use Instead of “More Better”?
If you need to communicate that something is “better than better” but not quite the best, you can use phrases like “much better” or “even better.” Thankfully there are many alternatives to the grammatically incorrect term.
If you need to convey that something is “better than better,” you might be tempted to use “more better.” Thankfully there are a few grammatically correct phrases you can use instead.
We find ourselves grabbing for a phrase like “more better” because we recognize there are degrees of “better.” For example, if a person is sick, they might say they are feeling “better” than awful. But as they steadily improve, how would they communicate this? Does “better” mean a little better than sick?
You might think it is correct to say, “I feel more better than I did yesterday,” but this is incorrect. Instead, say, “I feel much better than I did yesterday.” Or you could say, “I feel even better than I did yesterday.”
Sometimes you want to convey a great distance between the two things compared. “Better” does not seem to convey the sense. As an example, LeBron James is not just “better” at basketball than you or I, but can you say he is “more better”?
Instead, you should say something like this:
- LeBron James is far better than any non-professional basketball player.
- LeBron James is way better at basketball than you and me.
You can accomplish the same purpose as “more better” by adding a different and more precise adverb before “better.” Consider some of these:
Using “More Better” in a Full Sentence
Though technically incorrect, you might sometimes hear a native speaker use “more better” in a sentence.
This chart will show a few examples of how some might use this incorrect phrase with an example of correct grammar:
|I feel more better about taking the test after studying.||I feel much better about taking the test after studying.|
|You think your car is impressive, my uncle’s car is more better.||You think your car is impressive, my uncle’s car is even better.|
|Their lasagna was good, but their salad was more better.||Their lasagna was good, but their salad was far better.|
|That song is way more better than his early work.||That song is way better than his early work.|
Comparative and Superlative Adjectives
In English, we use different types of adjectives to describe words. One type of adjective is the comparative form. For example, “better” is the comparative form of the word “good” (source). However, it is also an irregular comparative, which means it does not follow the regular rules of comparatives.
Typically, when you want to compare two things to show the difference between them, you change only the suffix.
|Adjective||Adjective Form||Adjective Type|
|The boy is tall.||No suffix||Adjective|
|The boy is taller than the girl.||Adjective + -er||Comparative|
|The boy is the tallest in his class.||Adjective + -est||Superlative|
The word “better” does not follow the regular rules. Rather than changing only the suffix, an irregular comparative uses an entirely different word.
|Adjective||Adjective Form||Adjective Type|
|The girl is good at math.||No suffix||Adjective|
|The girl is better than the boy at math.||Irregular||Comparative|
|The girl is the best at math.||Irregular||Superlative|
Here are more examples of irregular comparative adjectives:
|Adjective||Comparative Adjective||Superlative Adjective|
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
You will notice that “more” is also a comparative adjective. As such, a phrase like “more better” is synonymous with saying “more more good.” This is redundant and, thus, an incorrect sentence.
“More better” is a grammatically incorrect phrase you should not use. It uses a double comparative and is redundant. Rather than saying “more better,” consider an alternative term conveying the same idea.