grammatical expression: …is more like it

The expression for today, “… is more like it”, has two completely different meanings. This first one is used when we are correcting someone about some information they have just given. For example:

A: And then we had to walk for about five kilometres.

B: Five? I don’t think so. Ten kilometres is more like it.

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A: I think it will cost you about $1500 a month to rent an apartment downtown.

B: I think that’s too low of an estimate. $2000 a month is more like it.

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A: My friend is quite pretty.

B: Quite pretty? No way! I would say very beautiful is more like it!

We often use this expression when talking about numbers like prices, statistics, etc. However, we can also use it when describing people or things, as in the last example.

The second way to use this expression is when we are in a situation we are not satisfied with. If it is then corrected to our satisfaction, we often say “That’s more like it!” We always use the word “that” as the subject.

For example, imagine you were in a very loud bar and don’t like it. You then move to another bar which is much quieter:

A: That’s more like it. Now we can talk easily.

B: Yes, I agree. This place is much better.

Now imagine you’re in a restaurant and you’ve ordered a steak well done. When it comes it has been cooked medium. You send it back to the kitchen to be cooked more. When it comes back, it is now cooked well done:

A: That’s more like it. Thank you for taking it back to the kitchen.

B: I’m very sorry about the mistake, sir.

So, in these situations, “more like it” means “better” or “more the way I like it”. Please be careful not to say this directly to another person who has made a mistake about something because it could sound very rude.

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