English Grammar - Advanced

'The ___ The ____' Comparatives

We use this structure to say that the more one thing changes, the more another thing changes.

The larger a bottle of whiskey you drink, the drunker you will be.
The further the hotel is from the sea, the longer it will take us to walk there every morning.

After each "the", we can use either an adjective or an adverb in the comparative form.

The more in a hurry we are, the more slowly he eats!
The angrier the teacher got, the more we laughed.

These sentences are often truncated when the rest is understood:

The earlier we arrive at the beach, the better. (...it is for us.)
The closer you sit to the TV, the worse. (...it will be for your eyes.)

And there is one expression in English which talks about the fact that a party is better when there are a lot of people present:

The more, the merrier.

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Modals Of Deduction

We can use modal verbs to express doubt and certainty in certain situations in the present and past. The modal verbs we use in these sentences are can't, may, might, could and must.

Here are examples in the present and past using each of these modals:


We use can't in these situations to say that something is not possible:

Winston can't be at the theater tonight, I saw him in a café ten minutes ago.
You can't have gone to school today. Your teacher phoned me to see where you were!

May, Might and Could

May, Might and Could can be used to say something is possible. We are not sure if it is true or not, but it is possible.

She might be a teacher. She did study education at university.
That pizzeria could be good. It's often quite busy.
Your wife may have seen us together. She didn't look happy this evening.
He could've failed his exams. He didn't study very much.


We use must when we are convinced, totally sure about something.

They must be out. Look, all the lights are off!
She must have accepted his marriage proposal. Look how happy he is!

Despite, Although, etc.

There are many ways in English of joining two contrasting ideas together. But each one has its own particular set of rules.

Take these two ideas:

It rained.
We played tennis.


It rained but we played tennis.


This can come at the beginning or in the middle of one sentence.

Although it rained, we played tennis.
We played tennis although it rained.


Though is used exactly as although is used.

Though it rained, we played tennis.
We played tennis though it rained.

Even Though

Even though is used exactly as although is used.

Even though it rained, we played tennis.
We played tennis even though it rained.


However is used at the start of a second sentence.

It rained. However, we played tennis.


Nevertheless is used exactly as however is used.

It rained. Nevertheless, we played tennis.


We can use despite with a noun following, a gerund verb or the expression "despite the fact that".

Despite the rain, we played tennis.
Despite it raining, we played tennis.
Despite the fact that it rained, we played tennis.

In spite of

In spite of is used exactly as despite is used.

In spite of the rain, we played tennis.
In spite of it raining, we played tennis.
In spite of the fact that it rained, we played tennis.

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