The…the… with comparative adjectives

Comparison and contrast are expressed by the use of the…the… with comparative adjectives in parallel clauses. This structure is used to show proportionate increase or decrease.

Structure: the + comparative adjective + clause + the + comparative adjective + clause

  • The more adventurous it is, the more I like it. (NOT The more it is adventurous, the more I like it.)
  • The less I see him the more I like him.
  • The more he reads, the less he understands.
  • The older we grow, the wiser we become.
  • The higher you climb, the colder it gets.
  • The richer one grows, the greater one’s worries.
  • The less you spend, the more you save.
  • The sooner they go, the better it is.

A short form of this structure is used in the expressions ‘the more the merrier’ and ‘…the better’.

  • ‘How do you like your coffee?’ ‘The stronger the better.’
  • ‘When should I start?’ ‘The earlier the better.’

Note that in this structure, the means ‘by that much’.