Be more becoming than that?

Hi, when I google the phrase “be more becoming than that” I get only one result. However, I heard this expression on an audio tape by Napoleon Hill. Obviously, not many people are more becoming than that or is that the phrase itself is rather unusual?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Clearing away the snow[YSaerTTEW443543]

Dropping the ‘be’, you can get quite a few results, though. As far as I know, the term ‘becoming’ normally refers to things and tends to be replaced by words like ‘suitable’ or ‘attractive’ nowadays. You’re more likely to hear ‘her dress suits her very well’ than ‘her dress is very becoming’. But maybe the word is used more often than I think. I’d be curious to know.

Hi Torsten.

I’d be interested in knowing the whole sentence. It’s often hard to judge things based only on sentence fragments.

I wouldn’t find it at all unusual if someone used becoming as an adjective (as seems to be the case in your example). But it’s also not a word I’d expect to hear every single day.

The adjective unbecoming (meaning inappropriate) is probably used more frequently.

Expanding on Conchita’s examples, I’d expect to hear sentences such as:

That dress is more becoming on you than the other one.
Your new hair style is very becoming.
Language like that is unbecoming for young ladies with good manners!

(I think my mother may have said that last sentence to me a couple times when I was a kid.) 8)


I believe the preposition that goes with becoming is to. If you use on, it means whatever is becoming can be removed easily. I can go with, “That dress is becoming on you,” because, although it sounds weird, a dress can be removed.

However, if you use on, you wind up with stinkers like, “That hair style is very becoming on you,” which indicates that she can just grab her hair and take it off her head anytime.

And you would never say, “He was disciplined for conduct unbecoming on an officer.” It sounds like his behavior was some fashion item he was wearing. You have to say, “He was disciplined for conduct unbecoming to an officer.”

I don’t agree that “suitable” is a true synonym for “becoming”.

Hi Jamie

I used the prepostion on in the sense that the dress is “on you” and it is “on you that it looks good”

In my opinion, on doesn’t sound weird in the least. In fact, to sounds not only weird to me in that context (the dress), but extraordinarily weird. :wink:

I think the choice of preposition is very dependent on the context.

And to my ear, this sentence sounds better without the word to. (“conduct unbecoming an officer”)


I’ve had this discussion with another American before. Becoming on sounds like low-grade non-standard English to me. You certainly wouldn’t say, “conduct unbecoming on an officer,” I hope.

A Google search gives me almost three times as many hits for “becoming to her” as for “becoming on her”. In addition, if you examine the results (also changing the pronouns), you find that the texts with “becoming to” are from more literate or literary sources, and the “becoming on” are colloquial.

Have you googled “conduct unbecoming to an officer” vs. “conduct unbecoming an officer”? :wink:

Are you going to try to tell me the version without the prepostion is not a normal collocation?

That dress is very becoming on you.” is hardly likely to turn up in some formal literary context. It’s much more likely to be said in an informal social context.

I stand by the word on in the “dress” sentence. You can call me and the sentence illiterate and low-class all you want. Sticks and stones and all that. I think the “dress” sentence sounds just fine. :wink: