Skip to main content

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Sentence a is the only correct one of the two. Oddly enough, one could say "two times more than" but not "twice more than." This is still rare, because the expression "(X) times more than..." is usually used with numbers of three and above, as in

Three times more people than we expected came to the concert

It's also possible to say

Three times as many people as we expected came to the concert

In fact, this last version is more natural than the other one.

If you want to use "twice" you have to say

This book costs twice as much as that one

Marilyn Martin
It is not that I want to use "twice", but that some people say that Sa means the same as Sb in the given context.

By the way, I found 44 occurrences of "twice more" and 0 occurrences of "two times more" in BNC, 13 occurrences of "twice more" and 0 occurrences of "two times more" in Cobuild, and 16 occurrences of "twice more" and 0 of 240 occurrences of "times more" in my own written English corpus.
Chuncan Feng has a point: there are numerous instances of "twice more than" in Google (although I didn't find any in COBUILD). It's not surprising to find numerous instances of a given string of words in a corpus search. What we need to do is make sure that the string we're finding in the corpus is the one that we're looking for. My own searches on Google for the string "twice more than" turned up many examples, but look at some of them:

1) Prior to this marriage, how many times has the Sponsor Spouse been married?
Never, Once, Twice, More than twice. ..

2) Get Your Copies! Once or Twice, More Than Just Meds!

Although these two examples fill the description of what is asked for, they do not represent the grammatical pattern that we are seeking. Since corpus searches (at least Web searches) do not take punctuation or grammar into consideration, we get all instances of the string, regardless of the punctuation and grammar involved. I even found one example of the string involving a misspelling of the word than:

3) ...twice more. Than [instead of then]...

The comparative construction twice more than does occur, however, as found in a Google search. It occurs very infrequently, and then mostly in a use in which more is adverbial in nature, meaning "twice as often as":

4) Female victims were also pushed, grabbed or shoved almost twice more than male victims

5) Clinical researchers in Detroit and Spokane have determined that 45 % of the women with this condition [were] misdiagnosed, often being told by the physician that their tachycardia (racing heartbeat) was emotional or stress related (twice more than men).

6) The results revealed that medicine consumers were female twice more than male at the age of 9 to 80 years.

In 4) through 6), more means "more often."

I did actually find a few examples of the construction under question, in which "twice more than" means "twice as much as":

7) The site's taken more than 130,000 orders for the long-awaited novel. That's twice more than fans ordered for the Goblet of Fire.

8) ... One easy example is the lack of free trade for sugar that in the domestic US market
cost twice more than on the international market because of limits to...

"Twice more than," as an alternative to "twice as much as" is still not deemed acceptable by the two grammar sources I know of that mention it: The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language* says:

"Note that while the multipliers half and twice are restricted to the equality type (i.e., a third and three times, etc. occur with both [inequality (i.e. more than) and equality expressions]." (Section 4.4.1, p. 1131)

In a similar vein, Quirk et al.** say

"Twice is used with as many as or as much as rather than with more." (Section 15.71, Note [a], p. 1139)

According to these sources, then, the only grammatically acceptable sentence presented by Chuncan Feng is the one with "twice as much as." Even though some writers use "twice more than" to a certain extent, the version "twice as much as" is always grammatically and stylistically acceptable.

Marilyn Martin

*By Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey Pullum. Cambridge University Press, 2002.

**A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Longman, 1985)

Last edited {1}

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.