Than I v. Than me

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utente

Senior Member
American English
What about "for the time being". I'm under the impression that it is vaguer than them they, but I really would like you to tell me if I'm getting it wrong, or not![/quote]

Ciao Saoul--

Vorrei fare un commento su (di?) questa frase. Spero che vada bene:) .

Se vuoi essere corretto grammaticalmente, dovresti usare they invece them. E' vero che la maggior parte degli americani userebbero them in conversazione, ma non è corretto.

In questa frase, they significa they are, una proposizione independente. Quindi, si deve usare un pronome soggettivo. Them è oggettivo.

--Steven
 
  • Saoul

    Senior Member
    Italian
    utente said:
    What about "for the time being". I'm under the impression that it is vaguer than them they, but I really would like you to tell me if I'm getting it wrong, or not!

    Ciao Saoul--

    Vorrei fare un commento su (di?) questa frase. Spero che vada bene:) .

    Se vuoi essere corretto grammaticalmente, dovresti usare they invece them. E' vero che la maggior parte degli americani userebbero them in conversazione, ma non è corretto.

    In questa frase, they significa they are, una proposizione independente. Quindi, si deve usare un pronome soggettivo. Them è oggettivo.

    --Steven[/QUOTE]

    I don't get it.
    You are vaguer than me
    I am vaguer than him
    but
    it is vaguer than they?

    I am puzzled Steven. Can you please explain?
     

    utente

    Senior Member
    American English
    I don't get it.
    You are vaguer than me I
    I am vaguer than him he
    but
    it is vaguer than they:tick: ?

    I am puzzled Steven. Can you please explain?

    Mi dispiace per la confusione.

    La frase completa dovrebbe essere:

    "You are more vague (suona meglio che vaguer) than I am."

    Forse, questa frase è un po' più chiara:

    "You are being more vague than I am (being vague).

    E' vero che la maggior parte degli americani dicerebbero "You are being more vague than me", ma non è corretto.

    Questo è che confonde: La frase è composta da due frasi independenti, e significa "I am vague and you are more vague". Oppure, "You are more vague than I am".

    Ogni frase independente vuole il suo soggetto (nome o pronome).

    "Them" o "me" è un pronome solo per un oggetto.

    In realtà, se tu dici "you are more vague than me" nessuno si lamenterebbe;) . Inoltre, se tu dice "you are more vague than I", tu sarebbe corretto ma la frase suonerebbe male per molti americani :( .

    Spero di non ti confondo ancora più.

    --Steven
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    Saoul--

    utente is arguably correct from a purist's point of view, BUT (and this is a might big "but") grammarians have been arguing this for centuries and have really come to NO conclusion, except possibly that BOTH forms (than me/him/her/us/them as well as than I/he/she/we/they) are correct.

    It deals with the issue of whether than acts as only a conjunction or as a preposition, too. If people could agree that than can be a preposition, then we would have no misgivings about using the forms me/him/her/us/them.

    I used to be pretty rigid in my use of "than I" and "than they," but honestly your sentence sounds much less awkard when phrased "than them." I'd say don't worry about it.

    If either of you are interested, there are many many threads on this issue. If I were handy enough, I'd be able to dig them up, but I'm not good at that. :)

    You can also check Merriam-Webster's definition for than; they have two entries, one for the conjunction and one for the preposition, along with a nice little history.


    Brian
     

    Saoul

    Senior Member
    Italian
    utente said:
    I don't get it.
    You are vaguer than me I
    I am vaguer than him he
    but
    it is vaguer than they:tick: ?

    I am puzzled Steven. Can you please explain?

    Mi dispiace per la confusione.

    La frase completa dovrebbe essere:

    "You are more vague (suona meglio che vaguer) than I am."

    Forse, questa frase è un po' più chiara:

    "You are being more vague than I am (being vague).

    E' vero che la maggior parte degli americani dicerebbero "You are being more vague than me", ma non è corretto.

    Questo è che confonde: La frase è composta da due frasi independenti, e significa "I am vague and you are more vague". Oppure, "You are more vague than I am".

    Ogni frase independente vuole il suo soggetto (nome o pronome).

    "Them" o "me" è un pronome solo per un oggetto.

    In realtà, se tu dici "you are more vague than me" nessuno si lamenterebbe;) . Inoltre, se tu dice "you are more vague than I", tu sarebbe corretto ma la frase suonerebbe male per molti americani :( .

    Spero di non ti confondo ancora più.

    --Steven

    So if I use the correct form I will be looked at as if I'm wrong, and if I use the wrong one, I will be looked at, as if I am right. I need a drink!
     

    utente

    Senior Member
    American English
    So if I use the correct form I will be looked at as if I'm wrong, and if I use the wrong one, I will be looked at, as if I am right. I need a drink!

    Exactly! La tua frase iniziale è come la maggior parte degli americani la direbbero.

    Sfortunato, è troppo presto (mattina) a San Francisco per un (uno?) drink.
     

    Saoul

    Senior Member
    Italian
    utente said:
    So if I use the correct form I will be looked at as if I'm wrong, and if I use the wrong one, I will be looked at, as if I am right. I need a drink!

    Exactly! La tua frase iniziale è come la maggior parte degli americani la direbbero.

    Sfortunato, è troppo presto (mattina) a San Francisco per un (uno?) drink.

    Grazie Mille Steven. I cannot say you didn't confuse me a bit, but I think this will be helpful once it soaked in my brain a little more.

    (In Italy it's about time, for a drink!!)
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    Saoul said:
    So if I use the correct form I will be looked at as if I'm wrong, and if I use the wrong one, I will be looked at, as if I am right. I need a drink!
    Well, that's the thing Saoul--what exactly is the "correct" form? Or is there one?

    Languages are constantly changing, and it may take years, centuries, millenia(!) for people to accept certain changes. Right now there are many changes occurring in the English language. This is one of them--the use of "than" as a preposition.

    Another is the use of "their" as an acceptible 3rd person singular possessive adjective--

    Everyone has their own (:eek:) opinion about grammar!

    I say we let languages be the living, breathing things that they are and allow certain (not all, of course) discernable changes occur without holding on too tightly to the linguistic past.

    Of course, there will always be people who disagree with me and who I disagree with, too. :eek:

    :D


    Brian


    DISCLAIMER: Although I think we should accept certain linguistic shifts and changes such as these, that's not to say that their uses still don't make me cringe from time to time; I shuddered just a little when I typed "who" instead of "whom" above and put the preposition at the end. :)
     

    utente

    Senior Member
    American English
    DISCLAIMER: Although I think we should accept certain linguistic shifts and changes such as these, that's not to say that their uses still don't make me cringe from time to time; I shuddered just a little when I typed "who" instead of "whom" above and put the preposition at the end. :)

    Brian and Saoul-- It really is the cringe factor for me, although I try not to cringe outwardly.

    Who instead of whom = cringe

    they instead of him = cringe

    me instead of I = inward cringe, but I'll use "me" not to sound too strange:D

    preposition at the end = no cringe

    split infinitives = cringe (although I'm trying to loosen up on this one)

    collective nouns used with plural verbs = cringe (another of today' threads)

    none with a plural verb = cringe (another controversial / changing rule)


    The cringe factor seems to be idiosynchratic. Brian might cringe at a preposition in the wrong place, and I wouldn't.

    He might, on the other hand, be comfortable with split infinitives that sound natural, while I'm trying to be more accepting.

    Always, it's the same argument between "purists" and those who are more accepting of change.
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    Hold on a moment! It's not as simple as that - purists who care about the language on one side and sloppy permissive trendies according to whom "anything goes" on the other.

    On most issues I side with the Crusca since I see their position as enlightened purism - they care about good language use but dismiss groundless rules introduced arbitrarily by narrow-minded grammarians over the past few centuries.

    As I argued here and here, modern linguists find the imposition of rules based on Latin grammar on the English language completely illogical and unjustifiable.

    EDIT:
    collective nouns used with plural verbs = cringe

    This is a BE vs AE difference. The use of plural verbs with collective nouns is perfectly acceptable in BE. You hear it on the BBC every day: the Government have decided to.../Arsenal have won again/etc
    This usage is unacceptable in AE but perfectly correct in BE
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    You're right, Carlo. In my little "not all, of course" aside above ("...and allow certain (not all, of course) discernable changes occur..."), I left much to be explained, mostly because I had posted it when we were still in the other thread, and I wanted to minimize my off-topic-ness. :)

    Since I'm already late for work, I can't go into it in detail right now. Suffice it to say, however, that I am in full agreement (if I'm reading you correctly) that there is a world of difference between dismissing narrow-minded, rigid rules posed by the late grammarians and sloppily permitting trendy, cringe-worthy changes.

    By the way, who are the Crusca?


    Brian
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    brian8733 said:
    .

    By the way, who are the Crusca?

    The Accademia della Crusca is a language academy founded at the end of the 16th century. Its members are the most prestigious language scholars in Italy.

    As I tried to explain here nowadays its approach is completely different from the rigid state-sponsored prescriptivism of the French and Spanish academies.

    You will find more information on their site:

    http://www.accademiadellacrusca.it/l_accademia.shtml

    A very useful feature is a search function that allows you to find the replies to readers' queries on a wide variety of usage issues:

    http://www.accademiadellacrusca.it/faq/ricerca_faq.php
     

    coppergirl

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    Ciao a tutti!

    Ok, I admit, as a native English speaker, in this I am a purist! (Sorry!). I am teaching my kids that it is really correct to use "than I" and explaining the whole thing about the implicit "verb of being" that is at the end of the sentence (e.g. "than I am").

    I do tell them that, in practice, they may make people feel slightly awkward if the adhere to this too strongly in public, and so I tell them to use it when writing, but to gauge the situation when speaking so that no one feels awkward.

    If they are in a group of people who are saying "He is not nearly as tall as I" then use that. If they are in a group of people who are saying, "He is not nearly as tall as me", use that. But whatever you do, know that the correct form was originally "He is not nearly as tall as I", even if it is virtually archaic in English.

    Hope that doesn't offend either the purists nor the "living language" people out there!

    Cheers!
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    In the Cultural forum I made up this imaginary conversation in which the rules based on Latin grammar introduced by the 18th century grammarians are strictly adhered to:

    (knock knock)

    - Who is it?

    - It is I, John

    - Hello, John

    - Why did you not open the door when I first knocked?

    - I was talking on the telephone

    - To whom were you talking?

    - It is none of your business to whom I was talking. It is something with which you need not concern yourself

    - I do not to care with whom you talk. You can talk to whomever you like
     

    skywatcher

    Senior Member
    Italia, Italiano
    Saoul said:
    So if I use the correct form I will be looked at as if I'm wrong, and if I use the wrong one, I will be looked at, as if I am right. I need a drink!
    Splendido post anche questo... :)
    We have many situations like these ones also in Italian, I think.

    Un caso un po' estremo:
    "Questi scandinàvi in genere giocano bene, quindi non li sottovalùto"
    :D non sono pazzo.
     

    DAH

    Senior Member
    USA/California--English
    Saoul said:
    So if I use the correct form I will be looked at as if I'm wrong, and if I use the wrong one, I will be looked at, as if I am right. I need a drink!
    Sometimes.....it may come down to whomever you are talking or addressing. In other words, you have to consider the result you desire when speaking, writting, or addressing the one you must impress, please, manipulate, persaude, win over or blow off.

    Knowledge is power.
     

    Saoul

    Senior Member
    Italian
    DAH said:
    Sometimes.....it may come down to whomever you are talking or addressing. In other words, you have to consider the result you desire when speaking, writting, or addressing the one you must impress, please, manipulate, persaude, win over or blow off.

    Knowledge is power.

    Thanks a lot everybody.
    This all is becoming clear. I think it needs a little getting used to, since it's brand new to me.
    DAH, since I have no plans to take over the world in the near future, I think I will stick to the version that I feel natural and instinctive, which unfortunately is the incorrect one, until I learn to beat about the bush well enough, to swap between one and the other, conveniently.
    Thanks a lot guys.

    Less-Puzzled Saoul
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    skywatcher said:
    Un caso un po' estremo:
    "Questi scandinàvi in genere giocano bene, quindi non li sottovalùto"
    :D non sono pazzo.

    :D

    Sarebbe simpatico fare un sondaggino qui nel forum per sapere quanti di noi pronuncerebbero la frase con gli accenti che hai indicato.

    Comunque viene in nostro soccorso De Mauro, che riporta entrambe le pronunce:

    scan|di|nà|vo, scan|dì|na|vo

    (io sottovalùto, sottovàluto)

    Persino il severissimo dizionario di pronuncia di tre puristi DOc (ma intelligenti!) come Migliorini, Tagliavini e Fiorelli, già nel lontano 1967 non etichetta le due pronunce controverse come "scorrette" ma:

    sottovalùto, meno bene sottovàluto
    scandinàvo, meno bene scandìnavo


    a differenza di

    edìle, errato èdile

    C'è una bella differenza fra errato e meno bene! Non sarebbe una cattiva idea se anche noi facessimo questa distinzione, invece di limitarci alla dicotomia "errato" - "corretto".
    In fondo anche Dio tra paradiso e inferno ha inserito il purgatorio:)
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    Saoul said:
    Thanks a lot everybody.
    This all is becoming clear. I think it needs a little getting used to, since it's brand new to me.
    DAH, since I have no plans to take over the world in the near future, I think I will stick to the version that I feel natural and instinctive, which unfortunately is the incorrect one, until I learn to beat about the bush well enough, to swap between one and the other, conveniently.
    Thanks a lot guys.

    Less-Puzzled Saoul

    Saoul

    Pensa che nel thread sull'argomento a EO finora ci sono stati ben 121 post!

    Come sempre la posizione più saggia e meno manichea è quella del simpaticissimo moderatore :thumbsup: Panjandrum:thumbsup: , che si può riassumere così: io "than she" non riesco proprio a dirlo, neanche con una pistola alla tempia. Parlando dico sempre "than her". Mi rendo conto che in un articolo o in un saggio "than her" suonerebbe troppo informale, quindi ricorro a un compromesso: scrivo "than she is", che accontenta tutti.

    Inoltre la sua posizione riflette perfettamente l'uso corrente, come risulta dall'analisi di milioni di citazioni da conversazioni, giornali, saggi e romanzi:

    "Corpus findings:
    The accusative forms are the only ones attested in conversation...In fiction, nominative and accusative forms are evenly divided

    Both types are extremely rare in news and academic prose...Instead, writers frequently opt for a full comparative clause [than I am, etc], thereby avoiding a choice between a nominative and an accusative form"

    "Despite a traditional prescription based on the rules of Latin grammar, accusative forms are predominant"
    (Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English)

    Quello che mi fa :warn: incazzare dei puristi per partito preso è che non si chiedono da dove provengano le regoline e regolette che gli hanno insegnato a scuola e non prendano mai in mano un libro di storia della linguistica. TUTTI gli studiosi oggi concordano sul fatto che le regole inventate dai grammatici del 700 erano basate sul presupposto assurdo che si potessero applicare all'inglese le regole del latino.
    Una di queste era che non si dovesse finire una frase con una preposizione. Questa regola porta a scrivere frasi così brutte che è ormai screditata del tutto(ma qualche purista giapponese perso nella giungla dell'ignoranza continua a combattere la seconda guerra mondiale:D ).

    Questi tipi poi sono completamente sordi. Nessuno di loro a EO ha neanche risposto alle mie citazioni.

    Tipi così li vedo a scuola ogni giorno. Dovendo assistere alla correzione dei compiti ("elaborati":eek: ) d'italiano durante i famigerati, farseschi esami di stato, vedo i prof d'italiano che correggono senza esitazione grafie come "sé stesso" con la matita blu. Vado avanti e indietro col Devoto-Oli e gli faccio leggere le argomentazioni della Crusca ma niente da fare: non uno di loro si è fatto convincere. Sinapsi ingessate?:D
     

    Gianni2

    Senior Member
    USA English
    There's a knock on the door. "Who is it?" The answer these days, although not grammatically correct, yet socially acceptable, would probably be "It's me".
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    Gianni2 said:
    There's a knock on the door. "Who is it?" The answer these days, although not grammatically correct, yet socially acceptable, would probably be "It's me".

    Gianni

    Mine was meant to be an example of the kind of unnatural-sounding English produced by adherence to rules such as the one forbidding the use of prepositions at the end of a sentence
     

    coppergirl

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    Ciao a tutti!

    Ecco il mio esempio preferito in inglese:

    This is the oft-quoted remark which is attributed to Winston Churchill.

    "That is something up with which I will not put."

    Rather than the usual

    "That is something I will not put up with."

    This was always used to illustrate how unnatural things can sound if grammatical rules are followed strictly without any acknowledgement of how language is actually used. No native English speaker would ever use the first version.

    Ciao!

    PS As regards Carlo's example above, again I am teaching the kids that "It is I" is correct because of its original roots (nominative case pronouns after verbs of being) whilst telling them that "It is me" is the more commonly accepted way of speaking.

    Again, I always suggest that they adjust their manner of speaking to suit the company in which they find themselves (hahahahaha) or else, "the company they are in", depending on whether you are a purist or a "living language" person! ;)

    PPS Spero che qualcuno possa spiegarmi perché in italiano si dice "eccomi" e non "eccoio"?

    Moderator edit: Eccolo. :)
     

    Auno

    Banned
    Australia - English
    coppergirl said:
    Ciao a tutti!

    Ok, I admit, as a native English speaker, in this I am a purist! (Sorry!). I am teaching my kids that it is really correct to use "than I" and explaining the whole thing about the implicit "verb of being" that is at the end of the sentence (e.g. "than I am").

    I do tell them that, in practice, they may make people feel slightly awkward if the adhere to this too strongly in public, and so I tell them to use it when writing, but to gauge the situation when speaking so that no one feels awkward.

    If they are in a group of people who are saying "He is not nearly as tall as I" then use that. If they are in a group of people who are saying, "He is not nearly as tall as me", use that. But whatever you do, know that the correct form was originally "He is not nearly as tall as I", even if it is virtually archaic in English.

    Hope that doesn't offend either the purists nor the "living language" people out there!

    Cheers!

    Sounds like a sound mother to me.

    Anyway I am a bit in both camps really, although I'm not much of a camper.

    All things considered, I prefer the words. They have more to say.
     

    Nijan

    Senior Member
    Italian, Italy - Salerno
    In a funny example, Trask states that until eighteenth century an English speaker would have to say "My house is painting", "The problem is discussing". Constructions like "My car is being painted" didn't exist in standard English. I can imagine the reaction of purists at that time for this sloppy, illogical and ungrammatical change: now this is the rule.

    About preposition you must remember:
    This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put.
    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001702.html

    Language serves people, not the opposite.

    Ciao :)
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    Thank you, Nijan, I really enjoyed reading the article.

    It was interesting to find out that:

    "The ‘rule’ [about not placing prepositions at the end] was apparently created ex nihilo in 1672 by the essayist John Dryden."
    (Cambridge Grammar of the English Language)

    And I loved the writer's comment:

    ...the traditional view... has a somewhat fetishistic attachment to the Latin meaning of pre-

    So John Dryden woke up in a bad mood one morning, decided to introduce a silly rule and yet, although all scholars agree that

    The mythical rule about preposition stranding being a grammatical fault is indeed nonsense, and it's not something you should put up with

    there are still people who cling to it and chastise those who won't put up with it:)
     
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