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More So Vs. Moreso: Which is the Correct Spelling?

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  Teri Lapping  —  Grammar Tips
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More So Vs. Moreso: Which is the Correct Spelling?

More so and moreso mean the same the thing. But which spelling should we use?
 
Here is the simple answer: 
The two-word phrase, more so, is the official spelling and, as such, it is considered the correct spelling. 

The one-word phrase, moreso, is an alternative spelling that is being used more and more frequently. 

This complicates the situation. If the spelling moreso is also reluctantly acceptable, albeit inferior, how can we decide which spelling to use?

In this article, I will:
- take a closer look at these two spellings
- define their meanings
- give examples of their use in context
- show how alternative meanings have slipped into use over recent years, clearly incorrect but nonetheless accepted. I will describe these other meanings.


Comparing the two-word term: More So with the one-word term: Moreso

Most accepted dictionaries will cite the two-word version, more so, as being the correct version and it is used much more frequently than the one-word version, moreso. Although most reputable dictionaries and spell check programs consider the one-word moreso inferior, less formal, and incorrect, in the late 20th century, it began to appear more frequently in US documents, most commonly online.

The definition of both terms means that something is “to a greater degree,” and it is used when comparing two things to each other, showing that one thing has a certain quality, and another thing has an even greater degree of that quality. It means that something is “even more a certain way,” or “even more the case.”

For example:

John was upset that his wife was leaving him, even more so when he learned that he was fired from his job.

The guitarist was an excellent technician on his recorded albums, more so than in his concerts and live shows. 

Kevin is not happy with the results of the test, but moreso, he is more stressed that he has to take the exam again. 

Even moreso than gas in the city, the price of gas fell significantly in the suburbs. 


Both the two-word, more so, and the one word, moreso, are both used interchangeably and incorrectly with certain other words: more, more than, also, and especially.  

1.    More so/Moreso incorrectly replace the word more. In these cases, it is more correct to use the word more on its own. 

For example:

Children are often cruel to each other in kindergarten – no one more so than the child who is being bullied at home.

Women superheroes provide a strong, independent role model for young girls, and no one epitomizes this moreso than Wonder Woman.

2. More so/Moreso incorrectly replace the word more, but the so is added as an anaphor – that is, so is placed there for stylistic emphasis, not for meaning. Although it is technically incorrect, it is poetically sound.

For example:

This is so beautiful that nothing can be more so.

The chocolate cake is larger than necessary. And the cheesecake still moreso.

3. More so/Moreso incorrectly replace the word more than. In these cases, it is more correct to use the words more than rather than more so or moreso.

For example:

Even more so than our federal taxes, our state taxes have skyrocketed this year. 

I want to work with her even moreso than she wants to work with me.   

4. More so/Moreso incorrectly replace the word also. In these cases, it is more correct to use the word also rather than more so or moreso.

For example:

The picture was used to show the beauty of the region and more so as a marketing tool. 

The heavy vacuum cleaner was outdated, and the old stove could moreso be thrown away.

5. More so/Moreso incorrectly replace the word especially. In these cases, it is more correct to use the word especially rather than more so or moreso.

For example:

Women, and moreso, girls, should know that society creates damaging body norms. 


Final Thoughts

More so or MoresoWhich is the Correct Spelling?

In summary, there is a simple answer and a complicated answer. 

Simply, more so is the correct spelling.
 
The complicated answer refers to the use of the one-word moreso.

We might be looking at the process by which a word or phrase becomes accepted into the mainstream, even when our experts are clearly advising against its use. 

Little by little, moreso will slip into our written documents, unmentioned and undisputed and, as such, moreso will eventually become legitimate.


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1 Comment
  • bso118
    I enjoyed the breakdown of the usages, acceptability and correctness in usage of either option. I'm gathering that until 'moreso' becomes a more common and accepted version of 'more so' that it's best to use 'more so' in the professional capacity. Is this a wise assumption, or do you believe this is an unnecessary assumption? I would appreciate the thoughts and opinions from those who are qualified to give educated and professional insight into this matter. 
    LikeReply1 year ago
    • Teril
      It seems that the professional, accepted version of a word perpetuates the continuation of its usage, and the informal, "street" version propels change and flexibility.

      I use "more so" in my professional writing, and I will continue to do so until 'moreso" becomes so accepted that it is the professional equivalent.

      Thanks for your comments and careful reading!
       
      LikeReply 21 year ago

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