I felt wiser than he

nautilus1

New Member
English
Is the following correct?

"I felt wiser than he."

Or should it be

"I felt wiser than he is."

Or

"I felt wiser than him."

I am confused; thanks in advance:)
 
  • Jacobtm

    Senior Member
    NY
    English - New York
    "I felt wiser than him" sounds most natural/common to me. I believe the other two are technically correct, just not as normal sounding.
     

    frostypotter

    Member
    NYC
    English
    "I felt wiser than him" is correct. "I" is the subject in the sentence; "him" is the object. You only use "he" if it is the subject. For example, you wouldn't say, "I gave he the letter," you would say, "I gave him the letter."
     

    Jacobtm

    Senior Member
    NY
    English - New York
    I think the justification for "I felt wiser than he" would be that it's a shortening of "I felt wiser than he was", but that "was" is sort of implied. Sort of like "holier than thou", which leaves out the verb altogether, but is understood to be "holier than thou art".
     

    frostypotter

    Member
    NYC
    English
    I think the justification for "I felt wiser than he" would be that it's a shortening of "I felt wiser than he was", but that "was" is sort of implied. Sort of like "holier than thou", which leaves out the verb altogether, but is understood to be "holier than thou art".
    Except, "I felt wiser than he was," doesn't really make much sense. I guess it technically does make sense in some rare instances, but it sounds awkward. Thinking it over though, I can see how it would make sense in the following example: "I spoke better than he did." If the second verb is omitted though, it sounds awkward. I'll have to rethink my thinking on this one...until then, I'm sticking with "him."
     

    Jacobtm

    Senior Member
    NY
    English - New York
    Indeed, "I felt wiser than he was" sounds weird, but I think it's clear enough that in the past, for some reason I felt wise, and I felt he wasn't as wise. It definately isn't something people would use casually, it sounds like something purposefully anacronistic, again following the "holier than thou" model.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    "I felt wiser than him" is correct. "I" is the subject in the sentence; "him" is the object. You only use "he" if it is the subject. For example, you wouldn't say, "I gave he the letter," you would say, "I gave him the letter."
    I'm afraid this isn't correct. There is no object in this sentence, just two equated facts

    I felt wiser than he (is).

    Perhaps you are thinking of sentences such as "I have better workers than him" (here it is an object of "have") meaning he is one of the workers I have and others are better which contrasts with "I have better workers than he (has)" - this time the contrast is between my workers and his.

    So technically "he" is correct in such sentences, but "him" as a kind of pointing form is very usual, especially in speech. Personally I would say "I felt wiser than him" despite the supposedly correct answer.

    You can always tell the difference if you can following the he/him (etc) with a verb as in this case. If you can add a verb such as "I felt wiser than he is" then the technically correct short form is "I felt wiser than he", although as I say "I felt wiser than him" is certainly very common whatever the grammar rule book says.
     

    Aidanr444

    Senior Member
    English - UK (Scotland)
    I support timpeac here.

    In "I felt wiser than he", than is a conjunction and he should take the same case in order to agree with the implied missing repeated verb

    I felt wiser than he (felt)
    I felt wiser than he (did)

    Otherwise it would be, once completed:

    I felt wiser than him felt
    I felt wiser than him did

    However as timpeac points out, him is a very commonly used pointing word. In informal speech, when making this type of comparison (with a personal pronoun) it is quite natural to use him to simply finish the comparison with a point at the compared person (yeah, him). And when he says it is
    certainly very common whatever the grammar rule book says.
    I'd say he gets it absolutely bang on.
     

    Imber Ranae

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    "I felt wiser than he did [i.e. than he felt]" means something quite different from "I felt wiser than him". The former means that I considered myself wiser than he considered himself wise, whereas the latter means I considered myself to be wiser than he was.
     

    nautilus1

    New Member
    English
    Thanks for the replies and discussion. I encountered this sentence in a memoir and was curious because it sounded awkward to me.

    So it is indeed correct, although it invites the "than he (felt)"/"than he (was)" question. Thanks.
     

    frostypotter

    Member
    NYC
    English
    I'm afraid this isn't correct. There is no object in this sentence, just two equated facts

    I felt wiser than he (is).

    Perhaps you are thinking of sentences such as "I have better workers than him" (here it is an object of "have") meaning he is one of the workers I have and others are better which contrasts with "I have better workers than he (has)" - this time the contrast is between my workers and his.

    So technically "he" is correct in such sentences, but "him" as a kind of pointing form is very usual, especially in speech. Personally I would say "I felt wiser than him" despite the supposedly correct answer.

    You can always tell the difference if you can following the he/him (etc) with a verb as in this case. If you can add a verb such as "I felt wiser than he is" then the technically correct short form is "I felt wiser than he", although as I say "I felt wiser than him" is certainly very common whatever the grammar rule book says.
    I was definitely wrong about the object construction. Thank you for pointing this out. "I felt wiser than him," is the most prominent construction in speech although it is grammatically erroneous. I recant my argument from before.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    While no one has mentioned it, I have to say that to describe oneself as feeling "wise" is hardly common, and verges on the highly unnatural. Just what have you "felt" that you believe you "felt wise", let alone "wiser"?
     

    Jacobtm

    Senior Member
    NY
    English - New York
    Some great vindication I'd assume. Though then, I think that part of the image of a wise person is that they don't go around tooting their own horn.

    Though just becuase a wise person might not say that, there's no shortage of people out there who'd like to declare themselves wise contrary to the facts.
     
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