Learn English Locally,

Apply It Worldwide!

Enjoy Regular Practice

Comparison Clauses and Phrases

We have cases where the comparative word ‘than’ can introduce a sub-clause, which is a part of a sentence, which has its own verb, but it doesn’t make sense if it is separated from the main part of the sentence.

"[His latest film is more interesting] [than the ones he made previously.]"

This is a comparison that stretches along two sentences – as you can see, each one has its own verb. The hinge element is ‘more interesting’, so called because it belongs to both sentences at the same time.

I could say:

"His latest film is more interesting than the others."

But then you wouldn’t understand or it wouldn’t be clear enough as to which others. One could also read it as:

- ‘the ones made by other directors’;
- ‘the ones that I’ve seen before’;
- ‘the other films they’ve shown at this cinema’, etc.

The moment you give it a verb, it becomes a clause and, in this case, because it doesn’t have a full meaning on its own, it is a sub-clause. We call this the comparative clause.

Other examples:

[You look much more beautiful] [than my sister does].
[Students read and write English much better] [than they speak it].
[He loved her more] [than she could reciprocate].

But, what about cases like this:

Instead of saying:

[My friend can speak Chinese better] [than I (he, they, we) can]. [… better than I (he, they, we) can (speak it).]

We could actually say:

"My friend can speak Chinese better than I (he, they, we)." (formal) OR
"My friend can speak Chinese better than me (him, them, us)." (informal)

* As you can see here, other elements in the sub-clause can be omitted if they repeat information in the main clause. If the verb is omitted, we don’t have a clause anymore – we have a phrase, which we call a ‘comparative phrase’ in this case.

With this simplification, there is a slight risk for misunderstanding:

"He likes Anna more than Maria."

Could be interpreted:

"He likes Anna more than he likes Maria."
"He likes Anna more than Maria does."

* In comparative phrases, an adverbial or adjective can follow the ‘than’ linking word:

"They thought the game was better than ever."
"For his homework, he did no more than usual."
"There is higher unemployment in the north than in the south."

* Sometimes, we cannot use some types of comparative phrases in relation with comparative clauses, for example in the comparison of degree or amount:

"We had fewer than 10 students in the class."
"You must find better things to do than playing computer games."

* Another little anomaly is the case where only comparison with ‘more’ or ‘less’ can be used:

"Her performance was more good than bad." (it was good rather than bad)

* The above examples concern cases of ‘unequal’ comparisons. However, with ‘equal’ comparisons, we need to use the ‘as… as’ expression:

"The children seem to like the one parent as much as the other."

English Corner Weekly E-zine

Packed with knowledge, published on Tuesdays.

Get yours here!

Enter your email:
Enter your name:

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you English Corner E-zine.

Our Archives:


Our lessons in the names and sounds of letters, short & long vowel sounds, CVCs, CCVCs, CVCCs, sight words, vowel and consonant contrasts, etc.


Our lessons will help increase your vocabulary, word recognition, find meaning in context, skills for TOEFL tests and other games, for fun.


Here we shall build some lessons to help you improve your writing skills.


Lots of lessons: cause & effect, comparisons, linking signals, relative clauses, presenting information, expressing emotions and grammar games, of course. We had more lessons on: intensifying adverbs and phrasal verbs, expressing various concepts such as addition, exception, restriction and ambiguity. Lately we started some exercises: likes/dislikes, frequency adverbs (twice), verb tenses, etc.

Website Building

Learn how to build a website, by using the SBI! system - start from the basics, developing a site concept and a niche, supply and demand, learn about profitability and monetization, payment processing, register domain, website structure and content as a pyramid. Also learn about the tools I'm using to build this website. We also covered how to build traffic, working with search engines, building a good system of inbound links, using social marketing and blogs with the SBI system, how to use Socialize It and Form Build It, how to publish an e-zine and how to build a social network in your niche

Our Weekly Game

We looked at a few games by now: Countable & uncountable nouns, Free Rice, Name That Thing, Spell It, Spelloween, the Phrasal Verbs Game, Preposition Desert, The Sentence Game, Word Confusion, Word Wangling, Buzzing Bees, and The Verb Viper Game.

Be prepared to play and learn  more pretty soon.