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. . . I'm curious if I crossed a line here in terms of incorrectness:

the more votes you get, the higher percentage of your county’s LJI budget you get

@ahmed_btm posted:

What makes you think that it is bad grammar? I see that the comparative correlative construction is correctly applied here.

Hi, Andrew and Ahmed—I do find this comparative correlative grammatically faulty. It needs "the" not only before "higher" but also before "percentage":

  • The more votes you get, the higher the percentage of your county's LJI budget you get.

"Percentage" works like "amount," which would also need "the." If you want to avoid using "the," change "percentage" to "more." Do you see the difference?

(1) The more votes you get, the more of your county's LJI budget you get.
(2) The more votes you get, the greater the amount of your county's LJI budget you get.
(3) The more votes you get, the greater amount of your county's LJI budget you get.

I do find this comparative correlative grammatically faulty. It needs "the" not only before "higher" but also before "percentage":

  • The more votes you get, the higher the percentage of your county's LJI budget you get.

Great point, David.

I think this might be a good rule to detect faulty comparative correlatives: if the comparative construction is an object or an adjunct, what follows the comparative construction needs to be the subject and the verb phrase; if the comparative construction is a predicative, what follows the comparative construction needs to be the subject (in which case the copula is usually omitted). In both cases, the sentences must be correct without adding any extra word (except the copula) if we restore the normal word order.

A. The more votes you get -> You get more votes

B. the higher the percentage of your county’s LJI budget you get -> the percentage of your county’s LJI budget you get is higher

In (B), we cannot say:

* Percentage of your county’s LJI budget you get is higher.

We need the definite article before "percentage" for the sentence above to be correct.

I think Andrew thought that the second "you get" was followed by an object, but this would also render an incorrect sentence:

* You get higher percentage of your county’s LJI budget.

We need the indefinite article before "percentage" for the sentence above to be correct:

- You get a higher percentage of your country's LJI budget.

the more votes you get, the higher percentage of your county’s LJI budget you get

Therefore, the only way to make the sentence above grammatical is to add "the" before "percentage."

The same rule applies to the sentences provided by David:

(1) The more votes you get, the more of your county's LJI budget you get.
"you get more of your county's LJI budget" is correct.

(2) The more votes you get, the greater the amount of your county's LJI budget you get.
"the amount of your county's LJI budget is greater" is correct.

(3) The more votes you get, the greater amount of your county's LJI budget you get.
"you get greater amount of your county's LJI budget" is NOT correct. We need to say "you get a greater amount of your county's LJI budget." That's why (3) is incorrect.

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

Excellent analysis, Gustavo. That was a thought-provoking read.

The fine-tuned syntax of the comparative correlative construction is extremely complicated and still debated; however, there are some things that are widely received about the construction, and your post touches on some of them.

I'd like to add that there are two "that"-less "that"-clauses in play, as well as a covert copula ("is"). Below I have simplified Andrew's noun phrase following "higher" from eight words to one.

(A) The more votes that you get, the higher that the percentage is.

I understand (A) to be essentially a transformation of the following:

(B) The percentage is the higher, the more votes that you get.

Notice that we can't eliminate "the" from the main clause:

(C) Percentage is the higher, the more votes that you get.

Andrew's eight-word noun phrase following "higher" ("percentage of your country's LGI budget you get") contains a zero relative clause ("[which] you get") after "budget," modifying the whole noun phrase headed by "percentage."

Since it would be very awkward to add the covert copula at the end of Andrew's 8-word noun phrase, especially since it would directly follow the relative clause (see D), we may front the copula to the position following "higher" (see E):

(D) The more votes that you get, the higher that the percentage of your country's LGI budget which you get is.

(E) The more votes that you get, the higher is the percentage of your country's LGI budget which you get.

Interestly, the second "that" has of necessity been deleted in (E), in which "is" has moved to the front of the heavy noun phrase. Now let's look at the sentence before the comparative correlative transformation:

(F) The percentage of your country's LGI budget which you get is the higher, the more votes that you get.

In all three sentences, the necessity of the "the" before "percentage" is made abundantly clear the moment we try to do without it. Consider the following variations, each of which is a grammatical disaster:

(D') The more votes that you get, the higher that percentage of your country's LGI budget which you get is.

(E') The more votes that you get, the higher is percentage of your country's LGI budget which you get.

(F') Percentage of your country's LGI budget which you get is the higher, the more votes that you get.

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