You are correct, however, "more expensive" is the first (or only) way of saying it for most people. "dearer" has been losing ground to "more expensive" since at least 1800, briefly being equally popular around 1910, and is continuing to lose ground. "dearer" now sounds very old-fashioned to most people who still understand it.
If this is true, it is not my own experience. I do live in a town where people tend to live to over 100, though. They say people move here to retire and then forget to die. Some of my friends who are over 100 go for walks along the promenade and do their own shopping in town. I'm 30 years younger than they are (and am happy to go for a 15-20 mile hill walk, or spend a couple of nights on a fairly remote beach in a hut), but still would say something is 'dearer' than something else. But I would also say 'more expensive'.
Edit: I looked at the graph given in the link and changed the parameters to British English from English. The crossover point is then 1937, and, 'more expensive' has taken a sharp dip since 1999. I do note that the search is of Google books and this may not be colloquial speech. I also do not know how great the difference needs to be to be statistically significant.
Further edit: If one changed the y axis the difference would not look so big. A lot can be done with statistics, but I am not a statistician.
You're in my parent's generation. They always say "more expensive", almost never "dearer" (maybe once or twice when I was a kid?). They have lived their whole lives in Australia. It sounds like maybe you live in Britain? That could account for a difference.
The Google data does come from books, so the language is skewed towards the formal, which would favour "dearer" over "more expensive" compared to casual speech. The British corpus shows a ratio of about 12:1 in recent years. Changing the scale of the y-axis would make no difference because the graph starts at 0 so the ratios would remain the same. It's not one of those misleading graphs that exaggerates the differences.
As a native Englishman who has retired to France and, as Anneduol1ngo so delightfully puts it, has "forgotten to die" - (and long may my memory continue to fail in this respect), I would always use "dearer" rather than "more expensive". Hopefully, Duo will accept both in future!
C'mon, please, Duo! Most UK English people (of any age group) would use "dearer" rather than "more expensive". Because Duo is structured to encourage achievement by competition - if only against oneself or the clock, it is needlessly frustrating when absolutely correct answers are rejected without reason.
Hi Leigh969612. Remember that Duo relies heavily on a few extremely dedicated, unpaid, volunteer moderators to monitor these courses. They not only offer unlimited help on all the discussion forums, but also, where possible, intervene with Duo staff to implement changes and modifications where is is possible so to do. It’s all part of what makes Duo able to continue it’s mission of being ‘free at the point of use’. But – it remains, for me, and, I hope, for millions of others, a very effective learning tool. Thanks to students’ contributions to the forums, and the dedication of the moderators, it is also, as you say, great fun ! What more could one ask for ?
Organic tomatoes are more expensive. That's what I put. Marked wrong. Unless we are talking about a specific tomato, we would never say in English "the organic tomato is more expensive". But Duo provides no context, so I avoided saying something that sounds stupid in English.
Salut Seattle_scott. Ignoring, for the moment, whether ‘tomate’ can be a ‘mass noun’ as has been suggested eleswhere in this forum, your assumption of plurality in the subject is not rigourously justifiable.
Suppose, for example, one was buying what we call in the UK a ‘beef tomato’ - those huge wannabbee pumpkin things – where you might indeed be talking about, and thinking of buying, just one?
Generally (albeit with notable exceptions), Duo prefers the closest literal translations, and moderators Sitesurf and CommeuneTexane have explained elsewhere in the forums how it’s ‘marking’ system operates, which explains a lot about why certain answers get rejected.
Forget about what may seem to be “stupid in English”. It is the very phrasing of your “stupid in English” response that may tell Duo that you have correctly identified the grammar/ construction/ usage that the exercise was trying to teach.
Also, I heartily commend to you the contributions of CJ.Dennis on this phrase – (save for the somewhat leftfield assertions on the relative merits of “dearer” and “more expensive”. ;-)