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  1. #1
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    Post comparative + than any other + singular noun?

    There is an established English grammar rule in my country that when using comparative form with "any other", a sigular noun must be followed by "any other". For example,

    1. He is smarter than any other student in his class.
    2. He is smarter than any other students in his class.


    According to the rule, while the first sentence is correct in grammatical terms, the second is not.

    Anyone who has ever learned or taught English in Korea or Japan might have heard of this rule. Do you guys agree with this rule?

    I would say no. I think there is no reason that a singular noun must come after "than any other". I think that both singualr and plural are possible and which one follows seems to depend on a speaker's intention.

    Could you give me any opinion of yours? Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by critic72; 16-Oct-2005 at 17:32.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: comparative + than any other + singular noun?

    It depends on how you read it:

    He is smarter than any other [one] student in his class. (singular)
    He is smarter than any [of the] other students in his class. (plural)

    Ellipsis is popular today; it wasn't as popular in the past, which is where traditional rules stem.

  3. #3
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    Post Re: comparative + than any other + singular noun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    It depends on how you read it:

    He is smarter than any other [one] student in his class. (singular)
    He is smarter than any [of the] other students in his class. (plural)

    Ellipsis is popular today; it wasn't as popular in the past, which is where traditional rules stem.

    Thanks a lot, Casiopea. It really helps.

    BTW, as for me, the plural form is familiar to me, but not the singular one. Is the form of "any other one + singluar noun" commonly used today or just used by means of explanation?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: comparative + than any other + singular noun?

    Explanation only, I'm afraid. (But I have heard speakers use "any other one (singular noun)". Maybe it's an attempt to reduce the ambiguity?

    Please note that, "any" appears to be both singular and plural, or rather, it appears to agree in number with both singular and plural nouns:

    EX: Take any books you want. (plural)
    EX: Take any book you want. (singular)

    But that's appearances only. The truth of the matter is, ellipsis is at play:

    EX: Take any (one of these) books (that) you want.

    "any" agrees in number with "one", not "books".

    Going back to our original example now, we see that "any" is singular; that is does not agree in number with plural "students":

    EX: He is smarter than any *students in our class. (ungrammatical)
    EX: He is smarter than any (one of the) other students in our class.

    "any" does not agree in number with "students". It agrees with "one". Moreover, "any one . . other" is fine, but switch the order, "any other . . . one", and it's redundant. Aha! And the reason speakers might insert "one" - for emphasis

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