He's been playing football longer than him.

Cholo234

Senior Member
American English
<<He's been playing football longer than him.>>

I'm trying to say that a football player has been playing football for a longer period of time than another football player, using a pronoun such as he or him.

I have read that the word than can be considered either a conjunction or a preposition and that some usages can be considered standard or substandard.

Can someone say whether the subject sentence is standard or substandard?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Standard and normal. In speech of course you have to rely on context and/or intonation to make it clear that there are two different people, so it's possibly not the clearest way of saying it.
     

    Cholo234

    Senior Member
    American English
    Okay, but since posting this, I read in "Grammatically CORRECT" by Anne Stilman that "Many people would believe it correct to say Louie can yell louder than him and She thinks she's better than me. In fact, these are elliptical constructions for Louie can yell louder than he can yell and She thinks she's better than I am, and therefore should properly appear as Louie can yell louder than he and She thinks she's better than I."

    Can anyone affirm or deny what the author has said above? Maybe she was thinking of using the above constructions Louie can yell louder than he and She thinks she's better than I in certain contexts. My take is that these are clearer "ways of saying it."
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think it's true to say that many (most?) nowadays think constructions like 'Louie can yell louder than he' and 'She thinks she's better than I' sound very stilted and old-fashioned.

    You'll find numerous previous threads that deal with this question listed at the bottom of this page. I'm sure you will find many of them interesting and helpful.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    That is a question often debated here :D In addition to the link hp has provided you can read the WRF dictionary has a special usage note, below. Many are happy with "than him" while others are not. I always choose either "than him" or "than he is" but "than he" sounds like hypercorrection to me, but not others!


    • Whether than is to be followed by the objective or subjective case of a pronoun is much discussed in usage guides. When, as a conjunction, than introduces a subordinate clause, the case of any pronouns following than is determined by their function in that clause:He is younger than I am. I like her better than I like him.When than is followed only by a pronoun or pronouns, with no verb expressed, the usual advice for determining the case is to form a clause mentally after than to see whether the pronoun would be a subject or an object. Thus, the sentences He was more upset than Iand She gave him more sympathy than I are to be understood, respectively, as He was more upset than I was and She gave him more sympathy than I gave him. In the second sentence, the use of the objective case after than (She gave him more sympathy than me) would produce a different meaning (She gave him more sympathy than she gave me). This method of determining the case of pronouns after than is generally employed in formal speech and writing.Than occurs as a preposition in the old and well-established construction than whom:a musician than whom none is more expressive.In informal, especially uneducated, speech and writing, than is usually treated as a preposition and followed by the objective case of the pronoun:He is younger than me. She plays better poker than him, but you play even better than her.
     
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