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    #1

    Me/I

    I am happy with the general principles of I/me -
    "George and I saw the dog"
    "The dog bit George and me"
    "The person in the photograph is I" etc

    However, there are some occasions where I am not so sure.
    So I think I should say:
    "He sings better than I" (which I assume is a really a contraction of "He sings better than I sing")
    but what about:
    "He is taller than me". If this is a contraction of "He is taller than I am", then presumably it should be "He is taller than I", however, "He is taller than me" seems better as I am the object in this sentence (I think). If it should read "He is taller than I (am)", and 'I' is not the object, but the subject of a sub-clause, is there a proper name for the function of 'I' in that sentence?

    Hope that makes sense. I'd appreciate any clarification, corrections or comments on this.

    Many thanks!
    Ade (azcl)

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Me/I

    According to what my grammar book* says, you should use an object pronoun after than.

    *Collins COBUILD English Usage

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    #3

    Re: Me/I

    Thanks engee30 - that's really helpful.

    So this means that I should be saying:
    "He sings better than me" not "He sings better than I"
    "You know better than me" not "You know better than I" etc?

    If so, I am going to have to re-program my brain

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    #4

    Re: Me/I

    Don't bother reprogramming your brain, azcl.

    You'll be perfectly well understood whichever pronoun you use in this context.

    Rover

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    #5

    Smile Re: Me/I

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    Don't bother reprogramming your brain, azcl.

    You'll be perfectly well understood whichever pronoun you use in this context.

    Rover
    Exactly.

    The book I took the information from doesn't actually disapprove of such use, it merely prescribes how speakers of English should express their ideas through words and grammar.

    You could, however, use an operator after a subject pronoun to make the clause appearing after than a complete one - this conforms to another language authority I'd like to mention, that is Oxford, e.g.:

    He sings better than me.
    or
    He sings better than I do.

    You know better than me.
    or
    You know better than I do.

    But then again, there's nothing wrong with your example sentences.

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    #6

    Re: Me/I

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    AZCL,


    (1) Like other members, I have found most interesting your question and the wonderful

    answers from the other posters.

    (2) If I understand it correctly, it seems to depends on whether you feel "than" to be

    a conjunction or preposition.

    (3) People of my generation were taught there is only one "correct" way:

    He is taller than I (am tall).

    No ifs, ands, or buts to the matter.

    (4) From what I have read and heard, however, it seems that "me" is gaining

    ground or perhaps has already "won." Pro-me advocates usually say:

    English is not Latin, you know!!!

    (5) According to one of my favorite books, DESCRIPTIVE ENGLISH GRAMMAR by Homer

    House and Susan Harman (written in "ancient times": 1950), here is the answer to

    your question about the role of "I," as in "He is taller than I am":

    (a) The main sentence is "He is taller."

    (b) "than" (called a conjunction or perhaps more correctly a relative adverb) connects

    the main sentence to the subordinate adverb clause "I am tall."

    As the book points out, your sentence essentially means:

    He is tall (beyond the degree) (in which) I am tall.

    (My note only: If the English-speaking people had not invented the word "than," then

    we would have to express that idea by using those two prepositional phrases. Different

    languages have different ways to express the comparative. In one language (of which

    I know a little -- VERY little), they simply say something like:

    He/ comparison / I / tall.)

    (6) BOTTOM LINE:

    I most respectfully hope that you will join the ranks of those of us who are

    seeking to defend the status of "than" as a conjunction/relative adverb.


    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

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    #7

    Re: Me/I

    Dear TheParser,

    Thanks for your post - that's really helpful, and I am from the "'than' is a conjunction/relative adverb" era, so I feel relieved to find a kindred spirit, even if we are the last two. Still, we know better than them they.

    Many thanks to everyone for responding to my question, it's all been really helpful and interesting.

    Ade

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    #8

    Re: Me/I

    Just as an afterthought, I have wondered whether it is legitimate to draw a distinction between sentences where the subordinate clause is actually a physical characteristic of 'me', rather than some other quality. For example, should we be saying:

    "He sings better than I"
    but
    "He is taller than me"

    In the first case, the ability to sing is something that I do, and not something directly related to my physical being. In the second case, I am comparing a physical quality of another person with a physical quality of myself. Could this make a difference here? i.e. that in the second case I am comparing my physical self, whereas in the first case, I am comparing an ability or something I do?

    Ade

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    #9

    Re: Me/I

    Quote Originally Posted by azcl View Post
    Just as an afterthought, I have wondered whether it is legitimate to draw a distinction between sentences where the subordinate clause is actually a physical characteristic of 'me', rather than some other quality. For example, should we be saying:

    "He sings better than I"
    but
    "He is taller than me"

    In the first case, the ability to sing is something that I do, and not something directly related to my physical being. In the second case, I am comparing a physical quality of another person with a physical quality of myself. Could this make a difference here? i.e. that in the second case I am comparing my physical self, whereas in the first case, I am comparing an ability or something I do?

    Ade

    What a great question!!! I hope one of the teachers will answer.

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    #10

    Re: Me/I

    Quote Originally Posted by azcl View Post
    Just as an afterthought, I have wondered whether it is legitimate to draw a distinction between sentences where the subordinate clause is actually a physical characteristic of 'me', rather than some other quality. For example, should we be saying:

    "He sings better than I"
    but
    "He is taller than me"

    In the first case, the ability to sing is something that I do, and not something directly related to my physical being. In the second case, I am comparing a physical quality of another person with a physical quality of myself. Could this make a difference here? i.e. that in the second case I am comparing my physical self, whereas in the first case, I am comparing an ability or something I do?

    Ade
    That's a good idea. I think some of us instinctly follow this rule.

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