Suppose you have three big buckets, all of which have water inside. One bucket has 1 liter of water, the second has 2 liters of water, and the third has 20 liters of water. Is it correct to say that the third bucket has much more water than the other two?
It is correct to say “much more” when comparing two amounts of uncountable nouns. You can also use “much more” to compare two degrees of adjectives, adverbs, or verbs. For instance, a bucket can have much more water than another, a cat can sleep much more than another, and a student can read much more quickly than another.
Here, we’ll look at the definition of “much more,” as well as all the different ways we can use it to compare uncountable nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs.
What Does “Much More” Mean?
When “much more” precedes an uncountable noun, it refers to a more significant amount of something. For example, if “much more” comes before an adjective or adverb, then it modifies the comparative or relative degree of the adjective or adverb.
And when “much more” comes right before a verb, it comparatively explains how much or how often that verb happens.
The phrase “much more” is actually two modifiers together. The first one, “much,” speaks to the large amount or degree (source). The second word, “more,” makes the phrase comparative (source).
This means that “much more” will always explain the relative difference in the amount or degree of two objects, actions, quantities, or qualities.
However, all of these definitions show a wide gap between the two things you are comparing.
“Much more” always refers to a big difference in the amount, degree, or frequency, while “more” can describe a standard or predictable difference; the adverb “much” adds a larger degree in that it levels up those comparative or relative differences.
When Can You Use “Much More”?
You can use “much more” to show a big difference between two things: these things can be uncountable nouns, adjectives or adverbs, or even verbs. Remember, there should be quite a considerable difference between these two things: that’s why you include the modifier “much” in the first place!
For instance, you can say a baby sleeps much more than an adult: the difference in the hours they spend sleeping each day is quite significant! Or, you can say that a cheetah runs much more quickly than a house cat because there is a big gap between their speeds.
When Not to Use “Much More”
You shouldn’t use “much more” when the difference between the two things you’re comparing is normal. For instance, you can say, “Oranges cost more than apples, but a chicken costs much more than an orange.”
In this case, the cost of oranges and apples are closer together than the cost of an orange and a whole chicken.
So, when the cost of two items – such as oranges and apples – are similar but not the same, you shouldn’t use “much more.” Instead, you can use just “more” to show the comparative without the modifier “much.”
You also shouldn’t use “much more” when comparing the quantity or amount of countable nouns. Instead, with countable nouns, you should use “many more.” So, for example, you can say, “I bought many more apples than oranges because the oranges were much more expensive than the apples.”
Using “Much More” in a Full Sentence
The way you use “much more” in a full sentence will vary based on the kind of comparison you are making. For example, when comparing the amounts of an uncountable noun, “much more” will come just before the first instance of that noun in the sentence.
However, if you compare the frequency of two verbs or actions, “much more” will come after the verb. Or, when you’re using “much more” to modify an adverb, the phrase will appear right before the adverb.
Check out these example sentences, and pay careful attention to where “much more” falls according to the part of speech it is modifying:
- It takes much more time to drive across the country than to fly in a plane.
- Elephants eat much more than horses.
- You can see the stars much more clearly in the countryside than in the city.
- In my opinion, sunrises are always much more beautiful than sunsets.
How Do You Use “Much More”?
You can use “much more” with several different parts of speech, including uncountable nouns, certain irregular adjectives, adverbs, and verbs.
In all of these cases, “much more” draws a comparison between two or more things, actions, or qualities; the phrase highlights a large or significant difference, too.
In all of these cases, “much more” is a modifier. This phrase adds extra information about the items, actions, or qualities described in the sentence. We often use it to compare two or more things because it’s a comparative structure.
For more information about comparative forms, read our article Busier or More Busy: Correctly Using the Comparative Form of Busy.
Using “Much More” with Uncountable Nouns
You can use “much more” to compare the quantity or amount of uncountable nouns. Uncountable nouns describe things that you cannot easily count, such as “water,” “rice,” “hope,” or “harmony.” Uncountable nouns take “much” when you’re describing a large amount of them, while countable nouns take “many” (source).
So, when comparing the amount of two or more uncountable nouns, you should use “much more.” And when you’re making that comparison with countable nouns, you should use “many more.”
For instance, you can say, “This bowl has much more rice than the other bowl” because “rice” is an uncountable noun.
However, you should say, “This tray has many more bowls than the other tray,” because “bowl” is a countable noun. Whether you use “much more” or “many more” depends on the noun that comes after it.
Using “Much More” with Adjectives
Be careful with this one! You will only see “much more” with irregular adjectives – that is, adjectives that do not take “-er” as the comparative form. That’s because “much more” is the adverb “much” plus the irregular comparative form “more + adjective.”
Check out these examples to see how “much more” appears in the irregular comparative adjective form:
- These flowers are much more beautiful than the ones I bought last week.
- The blue car costs a million dollars! That’s much more expensive than I expected.
- Cats are much more intelligent than dogs, in my opinion.
Notice how the adjective is irregular in each example: we can’t build those comparative forms by simply adding “-er” to the adjective.
The word “more” is actually part of the comparative form here, and “much” modifies that whole comparative. It shows a vast difference between the two objects that you are comparing.
For more fun with irregular adjectives, check out our article Cleverer or More Clever: Which Is Correct?
Using “Much More” with Adverbs
You can use “much more” to compare how two actions happen, especially where there is a big difference between these two actions. The comparative phrase “much more” comes right before the adverb in this case.
For example, if you say, “The yellow bird flies much more quickly than the blue bird,” you’re drawing a comparison between how fast the two birds fly. Because there is a significant and noticeable difference in their speeds, “much more” is appropriate in this situation.
Using “Much More” with Verbs
When we use “much more” with verbs, it is usually to compare the frequency of or time spent on two actions. Or, you can compare the frequency with which two actors do the same action.
For example, you can say, “I study math much more than I practice piano.” Here, there is one subject (“I”) and two verbs (“study math” and “practice piano”). You are comparing the frequency of two different actions, and these two actions have the same actor.
Or, you can say, “My brother studies much more than my sister.” In terms of frequency and time spent studying, your brother spends much more time on the action than your sister. You are comparing the same verb (“to study”) between two different actors (“my brother” and “my sister”). This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
What Can You Use Instead of “Much More”?
If you want to find a new way to say “much more,” you can start by replacing “much.” Some popular alternatives to “much more” include “significantly more,” “exceedingly more,” and “a lot more.”
You can also opt for any of these phrases to use instead of “much more”:
- Substantially more
- Considerably more
- Immeasurably more
- Appreciably more
- To a greater degree
- In a finer way
- All the more so
- More completely
You can use “much more” to compare two or more amounts of uncountable nouns. You’ll also see “much more” in irregular comparative forms where the difference between the two things compared is significant.
You can also use “much more” to modify adverbs and verbs; it helps answer the questions “To what comparative degree?” or “At what comparative frequency?”
In all of these cases, “much more” shows a large gap between the two things you are comparing. Therefore, you shouldn’t use “much more” unless there is a significant difference. Otherwise, you can simply use “more” to draw the comparison.