Does the following translation make sense in Spanish? What would be the appropriate translation?
How many more apples does John have than Phil?
¿Cuántos más manzanas tiene John que Phil?
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Firstly, "cuánto/cuánta/cuántos/cuántas" is an adjetivo interrogativo which, as all adjectives, must agree with the noun it qualifies — "manzanas", in this case.
Secondly, the adverb "más", if paired with some kind of quantifier, is generally placed after the noun:
¿Cuántas manzanas más necesitas?
Necesito tres manzanas más.
Then I wouldn't separate "más" and "que" because that makes it more difficult to parse.
Summing up, I'd say:
¿Cuántas manzanas más que Phil tiene Ali?
You can also say:
¿Ali tiene cuántas manzanas más que Phil?
The last one sounds clunkier to me, but it could sound natural if pronounced with a different intonation. I would pronounce the first one with a falling intonation, and the last one with a rising intonation (or a "less falling" one), as though I wanted the addressee to complete my sentence.
Of course you could go with a different wording:
¿Cuántas manzanas más tiene Alí con respecto a Phil?
I don't love the last one, but that is personal preference.
In light of the English grammar involved, to make it similar of what a Spanish speaker would say, I'd phrase it as:
¿Cuántas manzanas más tiene Alí que Phil?
So it's perfectly idiomatic.
Swapping we get another sentence given by fedorqui:
¿Cuántas más manzanas tiene Alí que Phil?
I remember saying this wording once, but now it doesn't click on my ears, so I'd use the first one.