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better-known vs more well-known

English translation: better-known is better style

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15:27 Aug 30, 2006
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Art/Literary - Linguistics
English term or phrase: better-known vs more well-known
"Chris is more well-known than his friends"
or

"Chris is better-known than his friends"

Which one is correct? Thanks.
smithy
English translation:better-known is better style
Explanation:
Although as Caryl has pointed out they DO mean the same thing, I would argue that 'better-known' is preferable from a stylistic point of view, except in the most informal of spoken registers.

For one thing, the comparative of 'well' is 'better' and not 'more well' (or 'weller'!)

And also, in certain constructions, 'more well-known' could lead to ambiguity:

"The UK has more well-known makes of car"

— does it mean that there are a greater number of well-known makes of car in the UK, or that UK makes of car are generally better-known?
Selected response from:

Tony M
France
Local time: 23:34
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +8better-known is better style
Tony M
3 +4They are synonymous, so they are both correct
Caryl Swift


  

Answers


3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +4
They are synonymous, so they are both correct


Explanation:
They mean the same thing. 'Better known' might be considered to be a slightly higher register - but I would say that that's the only difference.

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Note added at 11 mins (2006-08-30 15:38:33 GMT)
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Both of the phrases refers to one of two - a comparative. Here, Chris is treated as 'one' and his friends are treated as one group, making it a comparison between Chris and the group.


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Note added at 12 mins (2006-08-30 15:39:44 GMT)
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Caryl Swift
Poland
Local time: 23:34
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 16

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jack Doughty
4 mins
  -> Thank you! :-)

agree  Kevin Kelly
15 mins
  -> Thank you! :-)

agree  Will Matter
1 hr
  -> Thank you! :-)

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
1 hr
  -> Thank you! :-)
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

21 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +8
better-known is better style


Explanation:
Although as Caryl has pointed out they DO mean the same thing, I would argue that 'better-known' is preferable from a stylistic point of view, except in the most informal of spoken registers.

For one thing, the comparative of 'well' is 'better' and not 'more well' (or 'weller'!)

And also, in certain constructions, 'more well-known' could lead to ambiguity:

"The UK has more well-known makes of car"

— does it mean that there are a greater number of well-known makes of car in the UK, or that UK makes of car are generally better-known?

Tony M
France
Local time: 23:34
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 156
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Emilie
4 mins
  -> Merci, Emilie !

agree  Anton Baer: Subtle but accurate -- good point on the possible ambiguity (admittedly in a different cintext)
9 mins
  -> Thank you, Heinrich!

agree  R-i-c-h-a-r-d: I read this and "better-known" just rang true immediately for me
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Richard!

agree  Dave Calderhead: and with the above
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Dave!

agree  Asghar Bhatti
7 hrs
  -> Thanks, Asghar!

agree  Can Altinbay
22 hrs
  -> Thanks, Can! :-)

agree  Ala Rabie
22 hrs
  -> Thanks, Enshrine!

agree  NancyLynn
1 day2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Nancy! :-)
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