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Hi

I am sure I have asked this question before but just cannot find it. Sorry!

Many, many times I encounter “the” with the comparative form of the adjective, i.e. the better, the longer, and the construction is not this:

The sooner, the better.

The deeper you go, the warmer it is.

It is something like this:

Men quote proverbs the better to express themselves.

Could you please explain to me why and where we use the with comparative adjectives?

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Hi Tom,

I agree with CJ. In your particular example I would expect 'It is more important'. The inclusion of 'the' might simply be a typo. The only other possibility that comes to mind is that the writer was thinking this way:

That the Dupayne Museum exisits only in my imagination is the more important thing to emphasize... (i.e. perhaps the intended meaning was that this emphasis was more important than the apology earlier in the text).

Just my two cents.
Comments  
Men quote proverbs the better to express themselves.



This is a grammatical form that was common a few centuries ago. Hence, you will see it in the novels of that time. Anyone using that form is adopting the style of that time to make a light-hearted, humourous observation.

Note how at some time in conversations, we humorously slip into a 'biblical' style: Thou shalt not covet your neighbour's new car.
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From "Little Red Riding Hood" (a classic fairy tale):

"Grandmother! What big eyes you have!"

"All the better to see you with, my dear!"

"Grandmother! What big teeth you have!"

"All the better to eat you with!"
Please help me understand the use of "the" here. Why not "it is more important to..."?

I must apologize to all lovers of Hampstead Heath and to the Corporation of London for my temerity in erecting the fictional Dupayne Museum on the fringes of these beautiful and well-loved acres. Some other locations mentioned in the novel are also real and the notorious cases of murder exhibited in the Murder Room at the Museum were real crimes. It is the more important to emphasize that the Dupayne Museum exists only in my imagination, as does…

Thanks,

Tom
Mr. TomWhy not "it is more important to..."?
I'm not sure you'll find a satisfactory answer to this question. It is more important to ... is what I would expect, too. Maybe it is considered a literary device of some kind.

CJ
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 Yankee's reply was promoted to an answer.