Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 24

Thread: better than I or better than me?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    france
    Native language
    French
    Posts
    535

    better than I or better than me?

    hello all,
    I know "I" is used when it's a subject and "me" when it's an object but what about the comparative form?
    "who knows better than me that ...." or "who knows better than I that..."
    Thanks for your help
    minederien

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Colorado
    Native language
    English-US
    Age
    54
    Posts
    26,550

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    I say "Who knows better than I that..." A lot of people use "me" in this context, but I definitely prefer to use "I" in such statements.
    ...It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. W. Shakespeare

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Native language
    English - US
    Age
    68
    Posts
    757

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    Since the pronoun is in the predicate part of the sentence, it has become common to use the objective case. Thus "who knows better than me?" It should be nominative, but this has become a well known practice and the use of "I" in this case would sound a bit pretentious, at least here in the states.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    North Adams, MA
    Native language
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Age
    73
    Posts
    11,128

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    You will probably find "better than I" recommended by most grammar books, but "better than me" on the lips of most colloquial speakers.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    California
    Native language
    English - US
    Posts
    54,532

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    Here is an earlier discussion of the same topic:
    I/me: He is better than <I, me>.
    Similar opinions are expressed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    france
    Native language
    French
    Posts
    535

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    Thank you all.
    minederien

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Native language
    UK English
    Age
    73
    Posts
    10,199

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    Better than me/I do/I. All are acceptable.
    It depends on whether you think than is a preposition or not.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
    Native language
    USA English
    Age
    64
    Posts
    13,223

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    Personally I prefer to use I only with a first-person verb, e.g. "Who knows better than I do that ...".
    Be careful with sentences like the following:

    He knows you better than me. [= ... better than he does me.]
    He knows you better than I. [= ... better than I do.]

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Australia
    Native language
    French-France
    Age
    58
    Posts
    23

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    Who knows better than I do that...
    Who knows better than me that...

    The same goes with:
    He is as tall as me.
    He is as tall as I am.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
    Native language
    English, USA
    Age
    61
    Posts
    4,575

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    Quote Originally Posted by Forero View Post
    Personally I prefer to use I only with a first-person verb, e.g. "Who knows better than I do that ...".
    Be careful with sentences like the following:

    He knows you better than me. [= ... better than he does me.]
    He knows you better than I. [= ... better than I do.]
    The problem with this reasoning is that it does not work in the case of "He knows you better than me." which can also mean--but is not grammatically equivalent to--"He knows you better than I know you." In such a case, than functions as a preposition with an object in the objective case which is not the subject of a shortened clause--leaving the sentence ambiguous.

    As a matter of style, I would avoid any sentence ending in "than I," "than we," "than he," "than she," "than they." In all such cases, I would add "do." In my opinion, leaving "do" out (or "am," as nutcase points out, and likely other verbs) makes the sentence sound ugly.
    Last edited by mplsray; 3rd August 2010 at 2:34 AM. Reason: Clarification

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
    Native language
    USA English
    Age
    64
    Posts
    13,223

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    But don't prepositional phrases usually modify the nearest part of the sentence?

    He was talking to you instead of me.
    He likes you instead of me.
    He likes you rather than me.

    ?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
    Native language
    English, USA
    Age
    61
    Posts
    4,575

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    Quote Originally Posted by Forero View Post
    But don't prepositional phrases usually modify the nearest part of the sentence?

    He was talking to you instead of me.
    He likes you instead of me.
    He likes you rather than me.

    ?
    I stand by my opinion that "He knows you better than me" is ambiguous. The sentences you quote, as far as I can tell, do not suffer from the same ambiguity.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
    Native language
    English, USA
    Age
    61
    Posts
    4,575

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    Quote Originally Posted by mplsray View Post
    I stand by my opinion that "He knows you better than me" is ambiguous. The sentences you quote, as far as I can tell, do not suffer from the same ambiguity.
    I found an example where a writer (or writers) pointed to the possibility of ambiguity involving "than me." In the article "than" in Case Analysis and Fundamentals of Legal Writing by William P. Statsky and R. John Wernet, available in preview via Google Books,[1] it is stated that "she likes Paul better than she likes me" is "clearer phasing" than "she likes Paul better than me." I agree that with the verb "likes" the sentence is ambiguous.

    The same article states that "she likes Paul better than I like him" is "clearer phrasing" than "she likes Paul better than I." In a world in which people use "between you and I," I suppose the authors have a point.

    In any case, "clearer phasing" must mean that the original phrase was less than clear.

    Note [1]: I searched for

    ambiguity "better than me" "better than i"

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
    Native language
    USA English
    Age
    64
    Posts
    13,223

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    Actually, my three sentences have different meanings with different entonations, so I imagine "clearer phrasing" would be preferable with them too, if possible (e.g. "It is he, rather than me, who likes you" or "It is you he likes, rather than me").

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Walsall/Canterbury, UK.
    Native language
    English, UK.
    Age
    25
    Posts
    39

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    If you are going to be extremely picky then you would say 'better than I.'

    However, most native speakers may laugh if you said that as most would say 'better than me.'

    Grammatically speaking 'better than I' is correct, but 98% of people would never say that, because they either think it is incorrect or to obnoxious. It's just not used nowdays, unfortunately.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Native language
    UK English
    Age
    73
    Posts
    10,199

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    Quote Originally Posted by alexpayne_uk View Post
    If you are going to be extremely picky then you would say 'better than I.'

    However, most native speakers may laugh if you said that as most would say 'better than me.'

    Grammatically speaking 'better than I' is correct, but 98% of people would never say that, because they either think it is incorrect or to obnoxious. It's just not used nowdays, unfortunately.
    I agree with what you say, except when you say "Grammatically speaking 'better than I' is correct".
    On what basis do you make this statement? Are you denying that than can be regarded as a preposition. You seem to be saying that than can only be a conjunction.
    I also suspect that your 98% may be an underestimate.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Walsall/Canterbury, UK.
    Native language
    English, UK.
    Age
    25
    Posts
    39

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    Hi e2efour,

    ahh you are right, I think I oversimplified the use there. It does depend whether you class the 'than' as a conjunction or as a preposition. If the word is used a conjunction, grammatically speaking, you should use 'I.' If it is classed as a preposition you should use 'me.'

    For example, the choice of pronoun can change the entire meaning of the sentence:
    My brother likes cricket more than I.
    My brother likes cricket more than me.

    A. He likes cricket more than I do.
    B. He likes cricket more than he likes me.

    However, as said before, the use of I is generally regarded as obnoxious, however it does avoid potentially ambiguous sentences, also the incorrect usage of 'me' may be frowned upon in literary or offical documents.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Romagna, Italy
    Native language
    AE - hillbilly ;)
    Posts
    2,140

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    I reopen this thread, as a disagreement has come up with a BE friend. He corrected an Italian friend of ours who said: "It looks like the voices in my head are more famous than I" by saying she should have said "...than I am."
    I corrected him, saying what she had said was NOT incorrect, because "am" is understood, in this context (so she could say either "...than I am" or "...than I" and be equally correct.

    Any opinions on the matter? Is one form (or the other) preferable? Thank you
    “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Poland
    Native language
    Polish
    Age
    21
    Posts
    4,373

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    Quote Originally Posted by curiosone View Post
    I reopen this thread, as a disagreement has come up with a BE friend. He corrected an Italian friend of ours who said: "It looks like the voices in my head are more famous than I" by saying she should have said "...than I am."
    I corrected him, saying what she had said was NOT incorrect, because "am" is understood, in this context (so she could say either "...than I am" or "...than I" and be equally correct.

    Any opinions on the matter? Is one form (or the other) preferable? Thank you
    I, for what it's worth, agree with you that 'am' is implicit in stamenents such as this and I would not bat an eyelid on hearing 'than I'. I'm pretty sure that grammarians' piece of advice here would be to include 'am', though.
    Bearing in mind that it was, I gather, an informal conversation with a non-native speaker of English, I think the three of you could have done without the correction of your British friend....
    Last edited by dreamlike; 9th March 2013 at 8:24 PM.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sonoma County CA
    Native language
    English (UK then US)
    Age
    64
    Posts
    12,363

    Re: better than I or better than me?

    Here is a three-page thread going over this ground. There is no answer that everyone agrees on. The WRF dictionary has this to say about "than" in the conjunction vs. preposition debate.
    In formal English, than is usually regarded as a conjunction governing an unexpressed verb: he does it far better than I (do). The case of any pronoun therefore depends on whether it is the subject or object of the unexpressed verb: she likes him more than I (like him); she likes him more than (she likes) me. However in ordinary speech and writing than is usually treated as a preposition and is followed by the object form of a pronoun: my brother is younger than me
    The use of I without the corresponding am or do being explicit is seeming more and more formal (or sounding like a hypercorrection) to more and more people and the use of than as a preposition (taking an object, therefore followed by "me") is extremely popular. "Correct" is not a good word to use in this discussion
    Your meaning is not what you think it is, it is what your listener thinks it is

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •