- For Teachers
A member recently posted this sentence:
It was more of a mistake than a crime.
Would you please draw a diagram for me?
In particular, I am interested in the role of "more."
Thank you VERY much.
There are quite a few indefinite pronouns. People usually think of the personal pronouns and forget the others.
I made up a chart (which can be found on the following webpage
Official Site for Competitive Sentence Diagramming ;) - Home on which they are organized.
It's an interesting issue, because diagramming expressions and idioms may be challenging sometimes; mostly because they don't follow the usual grammatical patterns.
To be more of sth than sth is a fixed expression. Something like a formula. Like Frank, I believe it's a pronoun. Through simplification of structures, we can analyze them:
1. If more occurs right before an adjective, it should be an adverb of degree.
2. In your example, however, it's followed by a preposition:
-Dr. James from X university.
-The door of the class.
These examples clearly show that the position occupied by a word before a preposition should be a NP (noun phrase).
Since more is not a noun, it should be pronoun. This technique is referred to as analogy. Of course, we must be very watchful not to make false analogies:
-He took the ball perfectlyfrom John.
The occurrence of the adverb before the preposition in this sentence shouldn't confuse us.
Last edited by oves; 15-Jun-2010 at 08:52.
Those two sentences are not that similar because "rather" cannot stand on its own a a pronoun. You could stop the sentence as "It was more."
Off hand, I am not sure what to do with your "rather" sentence.
I'll have to think. Anyone want to go first?
And would it be OK to say?
It was a mistake rather than a crime.
Is it also OK to say?
It was more a mistake than a crime.
For your first example --It was rather a mistake than a crime. -- I think you could substitute "It was a mistake instead of a crime". Then "instead of" would simply be a phrasal preposition. May "rather...than" could be considered as a correlative preposition. I am not sure if I have ever heard of such a thing, but it seems like it could work.