the … the (“parallel” comparative structures)

By | October 14, 2016
the ... the (“parallel” comparative structures)
The more I think about it, the more I realise there is nothing more artistic than to love others.
Più ci penso, più mi accorgo che non c’è niente di più artistico che amare gli altri.
- Vincent Van Gogh
The more I practise, the easier it gets.
*More* I practise, *easier* it gets.
Più mi alleno più diventa facile.
Both English and Italian can have sentences with two “parallel” comparative forms. However, in English we use the in both parts of the sentence. Some more examples:
The older I get, the more cynical I become.
Più invecchio, più divento cinico.
The bigger the challenge (is), the greater the satisfaction (is).
Più grande è la sfida, più grande è la soddisfazione.
(Notice that we can omit the verb be in this type of structure, as in the second example.)
Less is common in this type of sentence, too:
The more time you spend on Internet, the less time you spend with people.
Più tempo passi su Internet, meno tempo passi con le persone.
English also has a few set phrases which use parallel comparative forms, such as:
the more the merrier
più siamo più ci divertiamo
the sooner the better
quanto prima tanto meglio

Now try the quiz below! There are FIFTEEN answers. The pass mark is 85% (13 out of 15). Click on the blue arrows to go to the next or previous question. You can check your answers immediately or when you've finished the quiz.

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