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# GMAT Comparisons: More vs. Greater and Less vs. Fewer

Learn how to talk about quantities in comparisons on GMAT Sentence Corrections

## Countable vs. Uncountable

Some things in life (cars, cats, houses, lawnmowers, etc.) come in countable units.  The hallmark of countable nouns is that we would ask “how many?” — how many cars? how many cats? etc. — to ask about them.

Some things in life (air, water, pleasure, pain, science, art, money, etc.) come in varying quantities but have no countable units. Rather, these things come in what you might call uncountable bulk.  The hallmark of uncountable nouns is that we would ask the question “how much?” (How much air is in that tire? How much pain was he in?  How much science does she know?) to ask about them.

This distinction between countable vs. uncountable will be important below.

## Getting bigger: more vs. greater

When something countable increases, we use “more”:

1) Holland has more tulips than does any other country in Western Europe.

Tulips are distinct and countable: you can count how many tulips you have.

When something uncountable increases, we also use also “more”:

2) The US State of Georgia has more land than does the state of Pennsylvania.

3) It costs more to go to the ballgame than to go to the opera.

“Land” is an uncountable noun, and, in #3, the implicit noun is “money”, which is also uncountable (as opposed to units of money, such as dollars, which are countable).

The question arises: when do we use “greater” rather than “more”?  We use “greater” when the noun in question is a number. We can count the number of tulips, but a tulip itself is not a number.  Some examples of nouns that are themselves numbers are: percent, interest rate, population, volume, distance, price, cost, and number.

4) The area of Georgia is greater than that of Pennsylvania.

5) The price of a trip to the ballgame is greater than the cost of a night at the opera.

6) Call option premiums are greater when interest rates are higher.

(Notice, for certain economic quantities, we will use “higher” for an increase.) In general, things take “more” but numbers take “greater.” The “increasing” case is the easier of the two cases.

## Getting smaller: less vs. fewer

I will warn you: we are coming up on one of the most frequently made mistakes in spoken English.  Even otherwise highly literate and intelligent people routinely make this mistake.  Yet, the GMAT will penalize you for making this mistake.  It’s the confusion of “less” and “fewer.”

When something uncountable decreases, we use “less”:

7) Pennsylvania has less land than does Georgia.

8) I have gotten less water in my basement since sealing the windows.

OK, now get ready for the mistake-zone.  When something countable decreases, we use “fewer”:

9) Female drivers tend to get fewer speeding tickets.

10) My dorm had fewer international students.

11) When fewer people are unemployed, the interest rates tend to rise.

12) If you were rich, would you have fewer problems?

It’s quite possible that some of those, or even all of those, “sound” wrong.  Many many people would make the mistake of using the word “less” in those sentences even though the word “fewer” is 100% correct.  If you can count it, you need to use “fewer” instead of “less.”  In other words, whenever you would use “how many?” instead of “how much?”, you need to use “fewer” instead of “less.”

By the way, the winner for the all-time most widespread grammatically incorrect sign: “ten items or less”.  How many times have you seen that grammatical error at the grocery store?

Mercifully, when we compare numbers, and numbers decrease, we can simply go back to using “less.”

13) The population of Mongolia is less than that of Los Angeles.

14) The cost of a night at the opera is less than total cost of a day at the ballgame.

15) The melting point of zinc is less than that of copper.

BTW, “melting point” is a temperature, so it is indeed a number.

## Summary

The more of these rules you remember, the greater the number of GMAT SC questions you will get correct (in less time) and the fewer mistakes you will make!

### 67 Responses to GMAT Comparisons: More vs. Greater and Less vs. Fewer

1. Zubin November 10, 2016 at 6:50 am #

In the example 3: It costs more to go to the ballgame than to go to the opera.
You have used “More”here.
However if you see examples of “greater” are- percent, interest rate, population, volume, distance, price, cost, and number.
The word ” cost” and “money” is covered under “greater” because it quantifies in number.
In above example we are talking about the word “cost” which considers comparison of price of both things- ballgame and opera, so why have we not considered “greater” instead of more” here?
Correct me if I am wrong

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 12, 2016 at 5:53 am #

Hi Zubin,

Happy to help! 🙂

“Cost” as a noun goes with greater. –> “The cost of the ballgame is greater than the cost of the opera.”
“Cost” as a verb goes with more. –> “It costs more to go to the ballgame than to go to the opera.”

I hope that clarifies! 🙂

2. Jia Deng July 15, 2016 at 6:57 am #

In the sentence, “If there are/is more than one bin in the location, count all the parts in the bin.” Should I use “are” or “is” and why?
Thank you very much!

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 21, 2016 at 8:51 am #

Hi Jia Deng,

Good question! In this sentence, you should use “is”, as the verb refers to the singular noun “one bin.” 🙂

3. Saurabh May 15, 2016 at 11:48 pm #

Thanks Mike,

Article is very helpful in understanding the subtle differences among countable, non-countable and numbers.

4. Saurabh Jain December 25, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

Example 8 above, “I have gotten less water in my basement since sealing the windows”

Is this sentence correct? “Since” is a subordinate conjunction and hence, it should introduce a dependent clause. A clause should have full verb, so part “since sealing the windows” does not fit that definition.

should be “since I sealed the windows”..

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 8, 2016 at 10:54 am #

Hi Saurabh,

A subordinating conjunction can be followed by a “gerund clause,” or what is also referred to sometimes as a “gerund nonfinite clause.” This can be done when it is 100% to whom or to what the action of the gerund clause refers:

I have gotten less water in my basement since sealing the windows. –> it’s clear that it is “I” who is doing the sealing.

I have gotten less water in my basement since I sealed the windows. –> This is also perfectly correct.

You can see more examples of this type of clause here.

5. MM November 30, 2015 at 7:18 am #

Hi Mike,
I really enjoyed your article. Spot on 🙂

regarding you discussion with Rodrigo, when you said
I ran 5 miles, but he ran less. (less distance, not fewer miles)

Which one is more accurate? I’m totally confused.

I ran less than 3 miles. It means I ran less distance

I ran fewer than 3 miles. It means I ran fewer miles. I used the same analogy about the cup of water in you example above when you said:

‘If I take a second drink, then there is less than 75% of the water left in the glass; we could also say that, after my second sip, that there are fewer than 6 ounces of water left in the glass’

Also I have another question about greater and more.

Mike’s friends are more/greater/less/fewer than Anna’s friends. What should I choose for increase and decrease?

Thanks

6. Rohit September 26, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the nice article.

Is it right to say that “The number of people who play chess is GREATER than the number of people who play football” or shall we use MORE over here?

7. isha September 24, 2015 at 11:36 pm #

Hi Mike,
For the below question, source says B is the right answer. Since Price is a number, shouldn’t the decrease use Less ? Please clarify.
I could find the following sentences used widely –

Find all Low Price High Volume Stocks
Lowest Gasoline Prices in 11 Years

The three-pointed-star on the Mercedes bonnet can now be in your garage for a much lesser price than you ever imagined.
A. lesser price than you ever imagined
B. lower price than you ever imagined
C. lesser price than you had ever imagined
D. lower price than one would have ever imagined
E. lesser price than you could ever have imagined

8. Dharani August 29, 2015 at 6:55 am #

You are doing great! keep up the good work. 🙂

9. Georg August 15, 2015 at 2:00 am #

Hey, hold on thar! Wouldn’t you agree that the three statements below are true statements?

1. Mathematics is the language of science
2. Mathematics is the study of numbers
3. English grammar is not mathematics
4. In regards to number theory competency, the field of mathematics is more competent in dealing with number theory than the field of English grammar

If you believe that the above are true statements, then the mathematical signs of “” which means “greater than” are legitimate and trumps what any English gramarian would say.

In mathematics, 3 < 76 is translated as "three is less than seventy-six" and it's perfectly acceptable.

Since mathematics deals with numbers and it specializes in numbers, whereas English grammar as a field does not, then it's perfectly correct to say or write "10 items or less." In the world of numbers and anything that deals with numbers, mathematics trumps English grammar. 😛

10. read ebooks online in arknew.tk August 8, 2015 at 1:34 am #

11. sayantan July 22, 2015 at 3:05 am #

Hi Mike, thanks for the wonderful article…
Is it okay to apply a rule of thumb that “greater” applies to
a ) quantities associated with ” How much”
b) “Number of ….” attached to non-countable quantities, for e.g.. “number of stages”

whereas “more” can be used for quantities answerable with both ” How much” and ” How many”?

In other words, are the below mentioned sentences both correct?
1. This particular model of pump has more stages than the previous design
2. This particular model of pump has greater number of stages than the previous design

12. Dax June 6, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

Hi Mike,

Is “power” countable?

“A BMW has more power than a Ford”.

“The president has more political power than a chef”.

13. Rodrigo October 6, 2014 at 9:12 am #

Hi Mike, amazing article!

I have a doubt on a related topic. When we talk about money as in the example below, do we use singular or plural verbs?

“\$40 billion is estimated to have left the country in the last month.”
or
“\$40 billion are estimated to have left the country in the last month.”

What is the case if we make explicit the word dollars? Example:

“40 billion dollars is estimated to have left the country in the last month.”
or
“40 billion dollars are estimated to have left the country in the last month.”

Thank you very much in advance.

• Mike October 6, 2014 at 10:47 am #

Dear Rodrigo,
I’m happy to help. 🙂 That’s a great question. When we have units of an uncountable quantity, the units generally are interpreted as uncountable as well. Thus, we would say:
I ran 5 miles, but he ran less. (less distance, not fewer miles)
I slept for 9 hours, but he slept for less. (less time, not fewer hours)
I gave \$20 to the project, and he gave less. (less money, not fewer dollars).
Constructions such as this are tested on the GMAT. Now, putting one of those in the subject gets us into a very gray area — if the subject is “five miles” or “nine hours” or “twenty dollars”, these generally would be construed as singular, referring to that much distance or time or money. I will say: I have NEVER seen this particular point tested on the GMAT. Because this is a bit of a gray region, I think the GMAT scrupulously steers clear of it.
Does all this make sense?
Mike 🙂

14. Shivam August 12, 2014 at 4:45 am #

I have one query…

Plz throw some light on use of greater vs larger

As i have seen some sentence question having differentiating factor among mentioned 2 words

Regards
Shivam

• Mike August 12, 2014 at 10:39 am #

Dear Shivam,
I’m happy to respond. 🙂 When we are discussing pure numbers, either is fine: “five is greater than three” or “five is larger than three.” For physical objects, we definitely would use larger — “his car is larger than my car” — we would never use “greater” in that context. What’s tricky is the case not for pure numbers, but for real world numbers — melting points, stock prices, tax rates, age of planets, etc. For real world numbers, I would say “greater” is always correct, and I believe “larger” would also be correct only if the real-world number has to do with some kind of physical size. For example, we would say “Jupiter is larger than Earth” (physical objects), “Jupiter’s is greater than that of Earth” (real-world quantity), and “Jupiter’s radius is greater/larger than Earth’s” (real-world physical size).
My friend, do you know how you learn all these subtle rules? By developing a habit of reading. If you are not reading sophisticated English for at least an hour a day, every single day, an hour over and above any GMAT preparations you are doing, then you simply are not serious about mastering the GMAT Verbal section. There is no way you can achieve mastery simply by trying to collect all the rules. You have to do the hard work of reading to develop your ear for what sounds natural in English. See:
Does all this make sense?
Mike 🙂

• Montezuma May 6, 2018 at 11:36 am #

Hi Mike,

Just checking whether the usage is “more” for pure numbers is always incorrect or not. I think it is 100% incorrect. Please confirm.

For e.g., “Five is more than three.”

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 7, 2018 at 1:46 pm #

Hi Montezuma,

Yes, you should use “greater than” and not “more than” when comparing numbers. Note that in informal speech or writing, you may see people use “more than” in this context, but it is not grammatically correct.

15. Natasha Dossa July 1, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

Quick / urgent question. If you were saying that “the amount of water… Is ___ than the amount of water in this glass” would you use greater than or more than? Trying to figure out if “amount” implies a number or not (I.e. do you use greater because amount of water implies ounces?)

• Mike July 1, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

Dear Natasha,
Great question, and I am happy to respond. 🙂 The word “amount” always implies a portion of something uncountable, not a number, so we would always use “more than.” When we say “amount of water” or “amount of time” we are being vague, and treating water or time as an amorphous uncountable entity. When we specify so many ounces of water or so many minutes of time, that’s very different. Even then, ounces & minutes are countable, so we still would say “more than.” Pure numbers are things such as counts (i.e. the number of children) or fixed measurements: the radius of the Earth, the height of Denali, the enthalpy of water, etc. The height of Everest is greater than the height of Denali.
Does all this make sense?
Mike 🙂

• Natasha Dossa July 1, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

Ohh I think I got it, so it’s either “the number” or a known quantity when you use “greater”, but since ounces of water are countable and variable , you still use “more”… Is that correct?

• Mike July 2, 2014 at 11:28 am #

Dear Natasha,
Yes, that’s it. Five ounce of water is more than …. The number of children in this class is greater than …. The speed of light in a vacuum is greater than … Does all this make sense?
Mike 🙂

• Sahil Malhotra August 28, 2017 at 10:32 pm #

Hi Mike,

First of all thanks for writing a very nice article.

I have a doubt regarding the usage of more vs greater.

Which one of the following is correct?

1. Insurance company has agreed to pay greater amount against the claim.

2. Insurance company has agreed to pay more amount against the claim.

I understand that the first version – with adjective greater – will be correct.

Because amount agreed by insurance company would be a definite amount. So the right adjective in this case would be greater.

Please clarify if my understanding is correct.

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 29, 2017 at 1:00 pm #

Hi Sahil,

Happy to help! First, the sentences you have offered aren’t quite right because they are lacking necessary articles, so the correct versions will be:

1. The insurance company has agreed to pay a greater amount against the claim.
2. The insurance company has agreed to pay more amount against the claim.

Now, yes, they would agree on a specific “amount” of money, but grammatically this is irrelevant. The term “amount” is not a count noun in this situation, so we can only use “greater” with it. If you want to use “more” we need to actually use a quantity of money. For example:

3. The insurance company has agreed to pay more money against the claim.

I hope this helps! 🙂

• Montezuma May 6, 2018 at 11:58 am #

Hi,

Is the following usage correct?

“The insurance company has agreed to pay more amount of money against the claim.”

I think that going by the logic that Mike has sighted in one of the comments: “The word “amount” always implies a portion of something uncountable, not a number, so we would always use “more than”.”, the usage is correct.

However, the sentence can be considered incorrect on the grounds of concision. Ideally, “amount of money” should be replaced with either just “money” or just “amount”.

• Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 8, 2018 at 2:19 pm #

“More” actually modifies both countable and uncountable nouns. You can have more money, more shoes, more water, or more children.

The issue with “pay more amount of money” is that “amount” is a noun that means number or quantity. Nouns that mean “number” or “quantity” should be modified with “greater” rather than more. So the proper phrase would be “pay a greater amount of money.” “Greater” is also used to modify nouns that refer to something that is measured by degree– you’d say “greater pressure,” not “more pressure,” for example.

16. Tushar June 27, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

Hi,

“Just over 10% of road accidents have been caused by speeding trucks – less than those caused by drunk drivers.”

Is it okay or ‘fewer than’ be used?

• Mike June 27, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

Dear Tushar,
I’m happy to respond! 🙂 Unfortunately, road accidents are very countable — we can count the number in a day. For example, we would say “how many road accidents?”, not “how much road accidents? 🙁 Therefore, we absolutely must use “fewer than” in this sentence.
Does this make sense?
Mike 🙂

• Tushar June 27, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

but what about 10%? 10% is the subject.
shouldn’t it be
less than the percent of road accidents that have been caused by drunk drivers.

• Mike June 27, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

Dear Tushar,
The rule for percents is: (1) if we take the percent of something countable, the percent itself is countable; (2) if we take the percent of something uncountable, the percent itself is uncountable. Car accidents are countable, so any percent of car accidents is also countable. Does all this make sense?
Mike 🙂

• Tushar June 27, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

Dear Mike,
I am totally confused. You said:
“When something countable decreases, we use “fewer”: – See more at: https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-comparisons-more-vs-greater-and-less-vs-fewer/#sthash.iKVRjMu4.dpuf
“Mercifully, when we compare numbers, and numbers decrease, we can simply go back to using “less.” – See more at: https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-comparisons-more-vs-greater-and-less-vs-fewer/#sthash.iKVRjMu4.dpuf
Now you have written the above rule. Also the above rule is applicable only for percent or any number?
“Some examples of nouns that are themselves numbers are: percent, interest rate, population, volume, distance, price, cost, and number. – See more at: https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-comparisons-more-vs-greater-and-less-vs-fewer/#sthash.iKVRjMu4.dpuf

• Mike June 28, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

Tushar,
My friend, there are three different categories: (1) uncountable things (e.g. water, air); (2) countable things (hats, books); (3) numbers. Books are countable: we can count how many books. The number 17 is not “countable” — it doesn’t make sense to ask how many 17’s? Numbers are third category, separate from countable & uncountable, and include measurements (the speed of light, the density of mercury, the specific heat of water, etc.)
Does this make sense?
Mike 🙂

• Voodoo Child June 27, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

Dear Mike,
Do you mind explaining how can we calculate percentage of uncountables? I haven’t heard this before so I thought of asking.

Thanks,
Voodoo Child

• Mike June 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

Dear Voodoo Child,
I’m happy to respond. 🙂 Just because something is uncountable doesn’t mean that it’s unmeasurable. Think of water, an uncountable noun. I can put 8 ounces of water in a glass: then, if I drink 2 ounces, I have drunk 25% of the water, and 75% of the water is left in the glass. If I take a second drink, then there is less than 75% of the water left in the glass; we could also say that, after my second sip, that there are fewer than 6 ounces of water left in the glass, but that’s a less natural way to express the same idea.
Does all this make sense?
Mike 🙂

17. gaurav soni June 24, 2014 at 8:10 am #

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the awesome article.

I have a question in the statement “The US State of Georgia has more land than does the state of Pennsylvania.” – in this statement, the land itself is not countable, shouldn’t it be the land area as we can count the land area not not the land itself (1land , 2 land, 3 land etc)

Thanks again

• Mike June 24, 2014 at 11:46 am #

Dear Gaurav,
You will notice: that sentence was given as an example of something uncountable. Here, “land” means “extent, area.” The phrase “land area” is completely redundant, because in this sense, “land” means exactly the same thing as “area.”
Mike 🙂

18. Divineacclivity June 5, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

Hi Mike,

First of all, thanks for writing about the much dreaded topic: ‘greater’ vs ‘more’.
I went through your post again and again & still have some confusion:

You mentioned:
1) It costs more to go to the ballgame than to go to the opera
–> Note: costs more
2) Some examples of nouns that are themselves numbers are: percent, interest rate, population, volume, distance, price, cost, and number
–> Note: you listed ‘cost’ for nouns that take ‘greater’
3) The price of a trip to the ballgame is greater than the cost of a night at the opera
–> Note: you gave an example which compares price as well as cost using greater.

So, my confusion is cost is to be used with ‘more’ or ‘greater’. Please explain in detail. Thanks in advance.

I’d like to add just a little more to my previous question.
Both the following examples sound fine to me. Are they both good? If not, please correct them with explanation. If they both are right, could you please tell why ‘cost’ goes with both ‘more’ and ‘greater’.

1) A pen costs more than a pencil.
2) The cost of a pen is greater than that of a pencil.

• Mike June 8, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

Dear Divine Acclivity,
I’m happy to respond, and I like your archetypal screen-name! 🙂 One of the most confusing things about English is that the same word can be both a noun and a verb, and the noun & the verb of the same word follow different rules. So, yes, both of those sentences are correct. With the verbcost” we use “more“, and with the nouncost” we use “greater.” Does this make sense?
Mike 🙂

• Divine Acclivity June 11, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

Thank you very much. That does make sense to me 🙂

“MA in Religion” – wowwww. No wonder ‘Divine Acclivity’ caught your attention 🙂
thank you very much.

• Mike June 12, 2014 at 10:17 am #

Dear Divine Acclivity,
You are quite welcome, my friend. Best of luck and multiple blessings upon you! 🙂
Mike 🙂

• Divine Acclivity June 13, 2014 at 2:19 am #

Thank you so much, Mike. Your good wishes make my day 🙂

• Mike June 13, 2014 at 10:18 am #

Divine Acclivity,
You are quite welcome. Best of luck to you.
Mike 🙂

19. MKS March 27, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

Hi Mike, Nice explanation as always 🙂

However, as you said in this blog – “Mercifully, when we compare numbers, and numbers decrease, we CAN simply go back to using “less.” ”

My doubt , from GMAT point of view which one among the below 3 is best ?

Mercifully, when we compare numbers, and numbers decrease, we CAN (matter of choice) , SHOULD (preferred) or MUST ( formally needed) simply go back to using “less.

• Mike March 28, 2014 at 10:12 am #

Dear MKS,
Great question. In this context, the SHOULD would not be correct, because that implies some choice. The MUST is correct because it is required, and here, the CAN suggests that we have the possibility — it doesn’t contradict the necessity denoted by MUST, but it has different emotional connotations — we had to worry about the hard-to-remember switch to “fewer” in another case, but in this case, we don’t have to worry about that — we CAN get back to what is familiar, a welcomed movement toward a desirable end. I used CAN, as I used the flamboyant adverb “mercifully”, to highlight this emotional connotation. In my blogs, I try to convey empathy with my readers.
The language of emotional connotations is ABSOLUTELY NOT tested on the GMAT. The GMAT is not interested in empathy. The GMAT tests cold, objective logic, but they always steer clear of the territory of emotional implications.
Does all this make sense?
Mike 🙂

20. Thishanth February 21, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

Hi Mike!

Could you give me an example sentence for cost (Nouns that are themselves numbers).

I would like to see the difference it makes with #3 example.

Thishanth

• Mike February 22, 2014 at 11:24 am #

Dear Thishanth,
OK, how’s this? “The cost of inferior GMAT Prep services is *greater* than the cost of Magoosh.” OR “The cost of Magoosh is *less* than the cost of inferior GMAT prep services.”
Does this make sense?
Mike 🙂

21. paresh February 2, 2014 at 2:59 am #

Hi Mike,

Superb and excellent explanation of more-vs-greater-and-less-vs-fewer.

Thanks you for this post.

Regards,
Paresh

• Mike February 2, 2014 at 11:01 am #

Dear Paresh,
You are quite welcome, my friend. I am very glad you found this helpful. Best of luck to you!
Mike 🙂

22. kumar August 6, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

What about tickets or pencls or pens? They are countable but dont we say ” I have more pencils in the bag than in the box”. ” I have more tickets for the b game than for the a game”?
Or is it ” i have greater number of pencils in the bag than in the box” and “i have greater number of tickets for the b game than for the a game” ?

• Mike August 6, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

Kumar,
Tickets and pencils and pens are, indeed all countable, and we DO say “more pencils here than there” or “more tickets for this than that.” Both of those are correct.
It’s also perfectly correct to say that the number of tickets (or pencils or pens) is greater than some other number.
Mike 🙂

23. prateek July 26, 2013 at 9:34 am #

The more of these rules you remember, the greater the number of GMAT SC questions you will get correct, in less time, and the fewer mistakes you will make!

the best summary ever !! kudos 🙂

• Mike July 26, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

Dear Prateek,
Why thank you very much, my friend, for your kudos. I wish you the very best of luck in your GMAT preparation!
Mike 🙂

24. Terrace December 2, 2012 at 5:08 am #

Instructive!! Thank Mike^_^!!

• Mike December 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

You are quite welcome!
Mike 🙂

25. The Dark Knight October 8, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

Mike,
I have a related question about “most” –

What’s the difference btween:

Most voters voted for Mr. Romney.

My opinion : 1 => >50% voted for Mr. R
2 => Romney could have got 40% votes but that number is greater than others’ votes.

-The Dark Knight

• Mike October 8, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

Dear Dark Knight:
I would say, first of all, *both* of them are vulnerable to the majority vs. plurality question — we would need more context. Furthermore, the GMAT would be far more formal — they would never repeat the similar words in #1 (“voters voted”) or use the very casual construction “got … votes.” I would say, for the GMAT and for business English, eliminate the word “got” from your vocabulary.
Does all this make sense?
Mike 🙂

• The Dark Knight October 8, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

Do you mind elaborating on this vulnerability — plurality vs majority in both the contexts? Appreciate your help.

Thanks

• Mike October 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

Both of the sentences you gave were very simple, and in many ways quite unlike GMAT SC sentences. One had 5 words, and the other had 6 words. A sentence that simple, that brief, absolutely *invites* ambiguity. You will never see a 6-word sentence on the GMAT SC — that’s unthinkable. A much more fleshed-out sentence, typical of the GMAT, would resolve any ambiguity. For example:
1) Although no candidate received a majority, more voters cast their ballots for Mr. Landon that for any other candidate.
That’s an example that gives a clear description of a plurality situation; the description makes evident that no majority has occurred.
2) In a stunning victory that has never been equaled in this county’s history, Ms. Pankhurst captured more than 73% of the the ballots, what one commentator called a “thunderous mandate.”
That’s an example of another more GMAT SC-like sentence, which makes completely clear that we are talking about a majority, not simply a plurality.
One of the ideals on GMAT SC, and in business writing, is absolutely univocal clarity, and often that requires a few words to specify properly. Does all this make sense?
Mike 🙂

• The Dark Knight October 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

Thanks Mike……

• Mike October 10, 2012 at 10:00 am #

Sir, you are quite welcome.
Mike 🙂

26. Faruk September 12, 2012 at 8:39 am #

Hi Mike,
‘It costs more to go to the ballgame than to go to the opera.’
You mentioned money is uncountable noun so we should use ‘much’ or ‘more’ in this sentence ?

• Mike September 12, 2012 at 11:39 am #

Faruk
As I say in this blog, in a comparative *statement*, the uncountable noun takes “more” — “It costs more to go to the ballgame than to go to the opera” —- but in a *question*, the uncountable noun takes “much” — “How much does it cost to go to the opera?” Follow the link for “countable vs. uncountable” to see a full break-down of all the cases.
Mike 🙂

27. Confuse Mind September 7, 2012 at 11:14 am #

nouns that are themselves numbers – great concept.

Thanks a ton Mike 🙂

• Mike September 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

You are quite welcome.
Mike 🙂

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