Posted in English

Of Mais And Menos

I usually write “more […] than” as “mais […] do que” but I occasionally see it written as “mais de” or “mais que” so to straighten it out in my head here is a distillation of the relevant Ciberdúvidas pages. The same seems to apply for other comparatives – melhor, menor, pior etc.

Mais do que and Mais que are correct and interchangeable in the following scenarios

  1. When there is an adjective between the “mais” and the rest of the expression
    • Este livro é mais grande do que “O Senhor Dos Anéis”
    • Este livro é mais grande que “O Senhor Dos Anéis”
  2. When there is nothing between the parts and it goes straight on to a pronoun
    • Eu escrevo mais do que ele
    • Eu escrevo mais que ele
  3. When the expression is followed by a relative oration
    • Ela escreve mais do que aquilo que julga
    • Ela escreve mais que aquilo que julga

That third one is a bit hard to grasp. “I write more than (whatever amount) you think”, so it’s pointing back to a noun, where the noun is some amount…? This makes it different from the next example where it’s comparing two verbs: “I read more than I write”

Mais do que is the preferred option when

  1. The expression is immediately followed by a verb
    • Eu leio mais do que escrevo

Mais que is the preferred option when

  1. The expression is immediately followed by another adjective – ie, when you are making comparisons between two adjectives
    • Sou mais bonito que inteligente (“I am more good-looking than intelligent”)

Mais de is the preferred option when

  1. The expression is comparing to a straightforward number – which usually means it’s followed by an actual number rather than a reference to some other thing
    • Mais de 17 milhões de pessoas votaram pelo Brexit
    • Comprei mais de uma dezena de livros na livraria
    • Naquele supermercado trabalham mais de 100 pessoas

Conclusion:

  • Use “mais de” if you are saying it’s more than a specific number
  • Use “mais que” when you are comparing two characteristics of the same person/thing (which I guess will be a rare occurrence!)
  • Use “mais do que” as the go-to option when neither of the above applies, or when in doubt since it seems to be the most common.

References

Melhor do que/ Melhor que

Mais que

Mais de

And some extra wisdom about when to use “mais que” was extracted from an actual papery book called “Portuguese, An Essential Grammar” by Amélia P Hutchinson and Janet Lloyd

Author:

Just a data nerd

One thought on “Of Mais And Menos

  1. Pingback: A Corrida – Luso

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