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Thread: better than I

  1. #1
    Kondorosi is offline Banned
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    Default better than I

    He is better than I.
    He is better than me.

    Diagram these.

  2. #2
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: better than I

    They would be diagrammed the same -- only the second one would have a mistake of case -- subjective i.e. nominative is required by the conjunction, not objective. "Than" is a conjunction -- not a preposition. This is at least true to prescriptive, as opposed to descriptive, grammarians.

  3. #3
    Kondorosi is offline Banned
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    Default Re: better than I

    This was my dilemma:

    1. He is better than I am.
    2. He is better than I.

    In the second sentence, is it a conjunction with a following ellipted clause after 'better', or, owing to to the redesigned syntactical environment, should I conceive of 'than' in 'than I' as being a converted preposition from a conjunction: 'than' followed by 'I' vaguely resembles a prepositional phrase? Vaguely only, as the form of 'I' is out of place. There is only one explanation for the grammaticality of #2 that comes to mind and I can accept: Do not rely on your eyes. Look behind the scenes.

    Now look at this:

    3. He is far from being happy. -- prep. (from) + noun (gerund clause) --> Alles in ordnung (Everything is fine).
    4. He is far from happy. -- prep. (from) + adj. (happy)

    Traveling on my train of thought further, the question comes up at the inspection of the fourth sentence: Is this correct to assert in a world where only those things exist which my eyes can perceive that an adjective can't follow a preposition? I am torn between thinking that the fourth sentence is incorrect grammar and thinking that 'happy', together with the invisible but understood gerund head (being), is there with sufficient justification.

    What do you think?

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    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: better than I

    "He is far from happy". The "being" is understood.

    "...better than I..." by the older rules is the correct form, but language is always drifting, and I think "than" is drifting in the direction of being used as a preposition.

    It is also probably true that "me", the objective case of the pronoun, is gradually taking over some of the territory of "I", the subjective case of the pronoun.

  5. #5
    Kondorosi is offline Banned
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    Default Re: better than I

    He is far from happy.

  6. #6
    mxreader is offline Member
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    Default Re: better than I

    Quote Originally Posted by Kondorosi View Post
    This was my dilemma:

    4. He is far from happy. -- prep. (from) + adj. (happy)

    .... the question comes up at the inspection of the fourth sentence: Is this correct to assert .... that an adjective can't follow a preposition? ....

    What do you think?
    Prepositions + nominal complement represented by adjective (TICK )

    no problems there.

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