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maya
03-16-2006, 03:09 AM
Hello!

Help needed: A friend and I are in the middle of what has become a rather large dispute, and I'd appreciate feedback as to which you think is grammatically correct.

I think that the following is correct:
"She is smarter than I."

But my friend maintains that it is:
"She is smarter than me."

i'll admit that the latter sounds better when you are speaking, but I've always felt that the former is more appropriate when writing formally, since I "hear" it in my mind as an unfinished statement, which ought to be:
"She is smarter than I [am]."

The other version would then be: "She is smarter than me [is]."

Our argument has expanded to include pairs, i.e. is it:
"She is smarter than he and I."
OR
"She is smarter than him and me."

Again, I think it ought to be the first sentence, but to be fair I'm not a native English-speaker and could be wrong. (In fact, I often am wrong.)

Any thoughts? They'd be much appreciated.

Cheers and the best
M

Word Addict
03-16-2006, 03:35 AM
Hello!

Help needed: A friend and I are in the middle of what has become a rather large dispute, and I'd appreciate feedback as to which you think is grammatically correct.

I think that the following is correct:
"She is smarter than I."

But my friend maintains that it is:
"She is smarter than me."

i'll admit that the latter sounds better when you are speaking, but I've always felt that the former is more appropriate when writing formally, since I "hear" it in my mind as an unfinished statement, which ought to be:
"She is smarter than I [am]."

The other version would then be: "She is smarter than me [is]."

Our argument has expanded to include pairs, i.e. is it:
"She is smarter than he and I."
OR
"She is smarter than him and me."

Again, I think it ought to be the first sentence, but to be fair I'm not a native English-speaker and could be wrong. (In fact, I often am wrong.)

Any thoughts? They'd be much appreciated.

Cheers and the best
M
You are quite right.
She is smarter than I (am)
She is smarter than he (is) and I (am)

Bufty
03-16-2006, 03:41 AM
OR ----She is smarter than both he and I? I don't know, I'm begging the question. Is the 'both' needed?

maestrowork
03-16-2006, 03:50 AM
She's smarter than you and I. ("both" is not necessary)

She loves her more than you and me.

cJay
03-16-2006, 03:57 AM
Straight from my daughter's grammar book...


If "than" is used as a comparative it is considered a conjunction so if you are comparing subjects then both take the subjective case (I ,she, we etc).

"I am smarter than she." (comparing two subjects so technically you are correct)

If you are using "than" as a direct object, indirect object or object of the preposition, then you would use the objective case. (Me, her...)
"I have never met anyone smarter than her."

One kooky note they add...

Many Americans view the first as pompous sounding so it is becoming increasingly popular and acceptable to consider "than" as a preposition making the objective case correct.

So...sound pompous, as they say, or be grammatically correct...I guess it depends on your audience?

maya
03-16-2006, 04:00 AM
Fabulous, many many thanks. This is so helpful, which is why I now have a new question (allow me to introduce myself, I'm Maya and I am annoying):

Am I correct in assuming the following meanings?

1. "She loves her more than you and me." = "She loves her more than [she loves] you and me."

As opposed to saying:
2. "She loves her more than you and I." = "She loves her more than you and I [love her]."

Or am I being a moron? If I meant the latter, should I actually state the whole sentence (i.e. "She loves her more than you and I do/love her.")?

Sorry to be a pain, but it's too tempting to have so much valuable advice available! Will happily repay in kind (although I don't think that there is much I can contribute, will do my best though).

Cheers!
M




She's smarter than you and I. ("both" is not necessary)

She loves her more than you and me.

maya
03-16-2006, 04:02 AM
Ah, you beat me to it....must learn to type faster. Thanks.



Straight from my daughter's grammar book...


If "than" is used as a comparative it is considered a conjunction so if you are comparing subjects then both take the subjective case (I ,she, we etc).

"I am smarter than she." (comparing two subjects so technically you are correct)

If you are using "than" as a direct object, indirect object or object of the preposition, then you would use the objective case. (Me, her...)
"I have never met anyone smarter than her."

One kooky note they add...

Many Americans view the first as pompous sounding so it is becoming increasingly popular and acceptable to consider "than" as a preposition making the objective case correct.

So...sound pompous, as they say, or be grammatically correct...I guess it depends on your audience?

reph
03-16-2006, 06:57 AM
Straight from my daughter's grammar book...

If you are using "than" as a direct object, indirect object or object of the preposition, then you would use the objective case. (Me, her...)
"I have never met anyone smarter than her."
Oh, boy, do I disagree with that part! This looks and sounds correct to me:

"I have never met anyone smarter than she is."

Therefore,

"I have never met anyone smarter than she."

Anyway, how could "than" be a direct object, indirect object, or object of a preposition? "Than" isn't a substantive. Only substantives (nouns, pronouns, infinitives, gerunds, noun clauses, and a few other things) can be grammatical objects.

cJay
03-16-2006, 10:36 PM
Anyway, how could "than" be a direct object, indirect object, or object of a preposition? "Than" isn't a substantive. Only substantives (nouns, pronouns, infinitives, gerunds, noun clauses, and a few other things) can be grammatical objects.

-sorry, I meant it to mean if the things being compared by the "than" are being used as direct objects etc.

On the other part of your correction though, I did get that directly from a high school grammar book. Doesn't always mean its right, I agree. I did find this explanation at Rutgers University online site:

Than, as used in comparatives, has traditionally been considered a conjunction; as such, if you're comparing subjects, the pronouns after than should take the "subjective case." In other words, "He's taller than I," not "He's taller than me"; "She's smarter than he," not "She's smarter than him." If, on the other hand, you're comparing direct or indirect objects, the pronouns should be objective: "I've never worked with a more difficult client than him."

It is true that it does sound better to end it with "he is", but I am just quoting the grammar texts.

reph
03-16-2006, 10:44 PM
If what you posted (the "direct object..." part) was a direct quote from the grammar book I thought you introduced it as one this is one of those times when the book is wrong. Those people ought to stay away from children and their impressionable minds.

Tish Davidson
03-16-2006, 11:18 PM
One quick way to test a suspect sentence to try this. When you write a sentence such as "He is taller than I," you mentally add the comparison so that the sentence reads "He is taller than I am tall." You would never say "He is taller than me am tall."

Which then raises the question, when you have a sentence within a sentence as When you write a sentence such as "He is taller than I," you mentally add the comparison so that the sentence reads "He is taller than I am tall," how is the complete sentence in the quotes puncutated?

Strongbadia
03-16-2006, 11:45 PM
[QUOTE=Tish Davidson] "He is taller than I am tall," QUOTE]

That sentence is not correct. That is an good way to check, but I fear some people will come up with some sentences that are far off the grammar spectrum.

You do not even need the "am" or "tall" in that sentence.

The "I" versus "me" distinction is something that a lot of people get wrong because they try and hypercorrect their grammar and use "I" when it should be "me" and vice versa.

"I" is always in the subjective case and "me" is always in the objective case.

Tish Davidson
03-17-2006, 05:24 AM
Please note that I said to add the "am tall" MENTALLY. I didn't say you should write it that way, just use it as a quick mental check. It's great if you have had a strong English grammar education and know the difference between subjective and objective case, but at least in the US, approaching grammar through understanding different cases is not taught in the public schools.

reph
03-17-2006, 06:36 AM
One quick way to test a suspect sentence to try this. When you write a sentence such as "He is taller than I," you mentally add the comparison so that the sentence reads "He is taller than I am tall." You would never say "He is taller than me am tall."

Which then raises the question, when you have a sentence within a sentence as When you write a sentence such as "He is taller than I," you mentally add the comparison so that the sentence reads "He is taller than I am tall," how is the complete sentence in the quotes puncutated?
The way you did it in your first paragraph is fine.

Maybe I don't understand the question. Do you mean something like this?


You mentally add the comparison so that the sentence reads "He is taller than I [am tall]."

You can do it that way, too.

Strongbadia
03-17-2006, 09:29 AM
It's great if you have had a strong English grammar education and know the difference between subjective and objective case, but at least in the US, approaching grammar through understanding different cases is not taught in the public schools.

I was not certain if you meant that it should be written or thought that way. I wasn't trying to alter the way you mentally check your grammar. If it works for you, then I say use it! :)

I am also from the US and I know that grammar education is terrible here. This is mostly becasue most teachers do not know the first thing about grammar. I didn't really learn much about grammar until I hit college and graduate school.
I get concerned when people assume they are correct about a grammatical rule when they are far off of the mark. (Even though sometimes people are arguing syntax and not grammar.)

The truth of the matter is that there aren't any really rules when it comes to grammar. A lot of the time it depends upon how you analyze a sentence or a word. For instance, we say there are nouns and verbs, but that is not entirely true. Just about any word can verb can be nominalized and vice versa; however, it is easier to verbalize a noun.

Lastly, I cannot envision any sentence or utterance where "He is taller than I am tall" would be correct.

If that were true, then you should be able to logically alter the comparative and it would still make sense. Can you say the following:

*He is smaller than I am small.

*He is fatter than I am fat.

*He is dumber than I am dumb.

*He is whiter than I am white.

When you add the second part of the comparative, you are creating an embedded sentence. If that were possible, than the following instances should also be correct.

He is taller than John.

He is taller than John is.

*He is taller than John is tall.

You should be able to replace the proform "I" with "he" or the proper noun "John." I honestly do not see why one whould choose to add it in any sentence. You can use it as a mental check for your grammar, but it doesn't even make sense as a sentence.

reph
03-17-2006, 09:45 AM
"He is taller than John is" is grammatical. So are "He's as honest as the day is long" and the classic line from a thank-you note for a hideous three-tiered candy dish, "It's as beautiful as it is useful."

Strongbadia
03-17-2006, 09:58 AM
"He is taller than John is" is grammatical. So are "He's as honest as the day is long" and the classic line from a thank-you note for a hideous three-tiered candy dish, "It's as beautiful as it is useful."

I honestly do not understand what you are saying by your other examples.

I know that "He is taller than John is" is grammatical. This is why there is not an asterisk beside the sentence. Sentences that are not grammatical are typically marked with an asterisk.

reph
03-17-2006, 10:48 AM
I honestly do not understand what you are saying by your other examples.
Oh, I was just musing out loud about sentences of this general type. "It's as beautiful as it is useful" is much like "He is taller than I am tall," and it's grammatical. The main difference is the switch from a "than" construction to an "as" construction. There may even be grammatical sentences of the form "[Subject] is [comparative adjective] than [subject of clause] is [adjective]."

How about "The shelf is longer than it is wide"? Sure. That's grammatical. So let's try "The bedroom shelf is longer than the hall shelf is wide." That one looks all right to me, too.

Although "He is taller than I am tall" looks and sounds peculiar, I'm not sure it's outright wrong. Maybe the words that Tish supplies mentally to test the case of a pronoun are words that are elided in idiomatic use.

Strongbadia
03-17-2006, 11:15 AM
Gotcha. Now that I understand you were simply making general comparisons about sentence it makes a lot more sense to me.

How about "The shelf is longer than it is wide"? Sure. That's grammatical. So let's try "The bedroom shelf is longer than the hall shelf is wide." That one looks all right to me, too.

The examples you are using are not quite the same as the example Tish gave. For instance, in order to make it the same you would have to say "The shelf is longer than the table is long." (Or I am long, or whatever the case may be. The sentence is comparing the same thing, not something different.) For me, part of the reason comes down to tiny "grammatical and syntactic features" that individual words have that are part of grammar but are not included in grammar. We intuitively know that it is incorrect.

The boy drinks milk.

Det + Noun + verb + object.

*The boy drinks rocks.

In the second sentence, rocks is still a noun and it follows the grammatical form that "drink" can take a object. But a boy cannot drink rocks. The question remains: Is the sentence grammatical?

*The boy slept an apple.

Sleep does not take an object, so it is clearly not grammatical.

If you look at the following examples you can see what happens when adjectives and prepositional phrases are added into the equation.

The hall shelf is long, but the bedroom shelf is longer.

The hall shelf is not as long as the bedroom shelf is.

The hall shelf is not ad long as the bedroom shelf.

*The hall shelf is not as long as the bedroom shelf is long.

The hall shelf is wide, but the bedroom shelf is long.

The hall shelf is wide, but the bedroom shelf is longer.

The hall shelf is not as wide as the bedroom shelf is long.

*The small boy is not as smart as the large girl is smart.

*The small boy in the bedroom is not as smart as the large girl in the hall is smart.

*The small boy is smarter than the large girl is smart.

*The small, blue boy in the bedroom is smarter than the large, boisterous girl in the hall is smart.

Personally, I think I stopped making sense about five or six sentences ago.

If anything, one should omit the second "tall" for clarity.

reph
03-17-2006, 11:48 AM
*The boy drinks rocks.

In the second sentence, rocks is still a noun and it follows the grammatical form that "drink" can take a object. But a boy cannot drink rocks. The question remains: Is the sentence grammatical?

The asterisk shows that you believe it isn't. I'm inclined to say instead that the sentence is grammatical but nonsensical.

A sentence can be grammatical and false, like "There are ninety minutes in an hour" or "John both does and does not eat candy." The impossibility of drinking rocks isn't a grammatical problem as far as I know.

And what if we set the sentence in a context: "The boy drinks rocks, ground to a fine powder and mixed into fruit juice, rather than taking commercial mineral supplements"? Now it makes sense. Has it become grammatical?

PastMidnight
03-17-2006, 02:13 PM
*The boy drinks rocks.

In the second sentence, rocks is still a noun and it follows the grammatical form that "drink" can take a object. But a boy cannot drink rocks. The question remains: Is the sentence grammatical?


It is grammatically correct, but not semantically correct, much like Chomsky's famous Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

Tish Davidson
03-17-2006, 09:46 PM
Sentences like "The hall shelf is not as long as the bedroom shelf is long" tend to show up as part of high school algebra problems where the second "is long" is added for clarity, e.g. If the hall shelf is not as long as the bedroom shelf is long, but the hall shelf is twice as wide as the bedroom shelf is wide, and the width of the hall shelf is 8 inches, which shelf has the largest surface area?"

I am not arguing that "The hall shelf is not as long as the bedroom shelf is long" is grammatically or stylistically deisrable, only that if the purpose of grammar is to clarify communication, there are some times when it is appropriate. Having written test questions, clarity trumps grammar rules every time, unless you want to spend time with unhappy students arguing alternate interpretations of the question.

And yes, reph, you are right in sensing that I meant the second comparison added mentally are words that are implied but idomatically dropped from use.

Strongbadia
03-17-2006, 11:36 PM
*The asterisk shows that you believe it isn't. I'm inclined to say instead that the sentence is grammatical but nonsensical.




No, that was actually a typo on my part. That is a different type of error. However, I think non sensical sentences are not teachnically grammatical, but part of that is the cognitive grammarian in me.

The reason I think this way is because X-bar, G&B, et al. via Chomsky breaks down at a certain level. One cannot show the grammar of certain sentences without incorporating meaning. As I said, tiny grammatical features.


Yes, technically a sentence can be grammatical and nonsensical. I was merely illustrating the point that you cannot simply fill in words with the same part of speech for the argument.



"[Subject] is [comparative adjective] than [subject of clause] is [adjective]."



The ability for language to be infinite allows you to add whatever you want to make the sentence work. Of course he could grind the rocks into a fine powder and drink them. I think you altered the grammar and the meaning of the sentence far too much to say that the sentence has become grammatical.


Having said that, I can still see problems with "He is taller than I am tall." There is something wrong in there, I just haven't figured out what it is yet.

Tish Davidson
03-18-2006, 12:25 AM
I can still see problems with "He is taller than I am tall." There is something wrong in there, I just haven't figured out what it is yet.

Through this whole discussion, apparently you just don't get the point that no one wants someone to WRITE "He is taller than I am tall." We are simply suggesting that by mentally adding the implied comparison "am tall" the writer can quickly distinguish between the correctness of "He is taller than I" and "He is taller than me." Even someone with a tin ear is going to cringe when they mentally hear "He is taller than me is tall" or "He is bigger than me is big."

reph
03-18-2006, 12:31 AM
Of course he could grind the rocks into a fine powder and drink them. I think you altered the grammar and the meaning of the sentence far too much to say that the sentence has become grammatical.

Having said that, I can still see problems with "He is taller than I am tall." There is something wrong in there, I just haven't figured out what it is yet.
I deliberately didn't alter the grammar of the original short sentence when I added the part about grinding rocks. The first four words of the longer sentence would take the same places in a diagram of either sentence; the difference is that the longer version would have attachments hanging off the main line. I think both versions are grammatical.

We don't say "He is taller than I am tall." There certainly is something wrong with it. But "I" is correctly in the nominative case in "He is taller than I," and the reason can only be that "I" is the subject of a clause, part of which is elided. We also say, correctly, "He is taller than I am." Now we've uncovered one more word of the elided clause: "am." But this "I am" doesn't mean "I exist." I am something. What could the something be, if it isn't "tall"?

There seems to be a phantom "tall" that completes the elided clause but doesn't show. It's suppressed.

Jamesaritchie
03-18-2006, 01:14 AM
The only reason no one says "He is taller than I am tall" is because the last "tall" isn't necessary for clear understanding. As often as not, people will actually say "He's taller," and let it go at that.

What people say, and how they say it, has little or no bearing on grammar. Neither does what people write, or how they write it.

Nor does proper grammar always have bearing on how something is best said or written. Perfect grammar is often the surest way to construct imperfect writing.

Strongbadia
03-18-2006, 02:33 AM
I deliberately didn't alter the grammar of the original short sentence when I added the part about grinding rocks.

No, please do not misunderstand me. I did not mean to imply that you were deliberately altering anything. I think we have some miscommunication here.



I see your points in the post, and I am going to think about this problem and consult a friend of mine. He is far smarter than I am smart in these sorts of things.

Strongbadia
03-18-2006, 02:35 AM
What people say, and how they say it, has little or no bearing on grammar. Neither does what people write, or how they write it.

Nor does proper grammar always have bearing on how something is best said or written. Perfect grammar is often the surest way to construct imperfect writing.

You are correct in the last part of that statement. I could not agree more.

reph
03-18-2006, 04:09 AM
No, please do not misunderstand me. I did not mean to imply that you were deliberately altering anything. I think we have some miscommunication here.
I agree that we do. You said:


I think you altered the grammar and the meaning of the sentence far too much to say that the sentence has become grammatical.
Then I said:


I deliberately didn't alter the grammar
by which I meant that I deliberately left the grammar as is: I didn't alter the grammar at all.

Then you said:

I did not mean to imply that you were deliberately altering anything.
I hadn't thought or said that you implied I was.

Please tell your smarter friend to hurry. I hope he's smarter than the rest of us put together are smart. We'll need him when we take apart "He drinks more coffee in a day than I drink tea in a week." Won't that be more fun than a barrel of monkeys is fun?

Medievalist
03-18-2006, 04:22 AM
If what you posted (the "direct object..." part) was a direct quote from the grammar book I thought you introduced it as one this is one of those times when the book is wrong. Those people ought to stay away from children and their impressionable minds.

Reph, if you saw the 1-12 English textbooks, both grammar and readers, you'd have a heart attack and fall into a decline.

It's a jungle out there!

Tish Davidson
03-18-2006, 04:30 AM
reph,

I want to thank you for being such a great grammmar resource.

Tish Davidson
03-18-2006, 07:04 AM
reph has been around a long time and has answered a lot of grammar questions with clarity and grace. That I happened to thank her is no reflection on the contributions of anyone else.

reph
03-18-2006, 08:04 AM
Thank you, Tish.

Jamesaritchie
03-18-2006, 07:30 PM
Reph, if you saw the 1-12 English textbooks, both grammar and readers, you'd have a heart attack and fall into a decline.

It's a jungle out there!

In all honesty, I think a junior high school grammar book is the perfect tool for a wannabe writer. Such books contain pretty much all the grammar and punctuation knowledge a working writer will ever need, and will not overload the writer with too much technical detail, or with areas of advanced grammar that simply do not arise in real life writing.

Anything more that needs to be learned can be done a little at a time, when and if the need arises.

I'm convinced that one of the main reasons so many new writers never master grammar is because they get in over their heads. They jump in the deep end of the pool before they know how to swim, immediately feel like they're drowning, and give up completely.

For a new writer really having problems with grammar, my advice is to get thee to a junior high school, buy the grammar books they have, and master them before worrying about anythng else. In all likelihood, they may never need anything else, other than what they learn in passing.

rekirts
03-18-2006, 07:55 PM
I know it's been a few years--my kids are in their 20s--but I don't recall them ever having a grammar book. I don't think they learned much about grammar in school. That they can write coherently has more to do with the fact that they read a lot.

When I went to school mumble mumble years ago we did learn grammar. It can be quite confusing when you remember certain rules, but nobody is following them. I definitely think the rules should be taught though.

Jamesaritchie
03-18-2006, 09:51 PM
I know it's been a few years--my kids are in their 20s--but I don't recall them ever having a grammar book. I don't think they learned much about grammar in school. That they can write coherently has more to do with the fact that they read a lot.

When I went to school mumble mumble years ago we did learn grammar. It can be quite confusing when you remember certain rules, but nobody is following them. I definitely think the rules should be taught though.

I'll bet they had one. There are schools here are there that have no grammar books, but the vast majority do. With no grammar book at all, kids couldn't write a coherent sentence. And surely they had English class? I've never been around a school that didn't. English class teaches grammar pretty much everywhere.

I know every school in my state still has English class, still teaches grammar, and still uses grammar books, though I've met a remarkable number of graduates from these schools who swear they weren't taught. Then I show them the books they used, and get something like, "Oh, yeah, well, I didn't like that class."

reph
03-18-2006, 11:16 PM
I must have learned grammar the way rekirts's kids did, by painless absorption from reading. We studied grammar in English classes up through high school, and I don't remember having any trouble with it.

Jamesaritchie
03-18-2006, 11:55 PM
I must have learned grammar the way rekirts's kids did, by painless absorption from reading. We studied grammar in English classes up through high school, and I don't remember having any trouble with it.

We started studying grammar in the sixth grade, but it was the seventh grade before it got serious, and before we had a full textbook dedicated to the subject.

But it is one of those subjects most kids seem to hate. Kids who love reading usually do well in English class, and kids who hate reading usually do poorly.

Even in my state, where grammar is still taught in all the schools, forty percent of college freshmen must take remedial English because they lack the basic grammar skills needed to get through college.

My two oldest kids are now out of college, but the youngest is a high school freshman, and he's had very good grammar books for three years now. I still have my junior high grammar books from '67 and '68, and his grammar books are at least as good as mine, and probably better. His are certainly thicker, and cover more areas of grammar.

Despite this, and despite the fact that grammar is taught through high school, only about 65% of the students emerge from our high school with enough knowledge of grammar to get them through ordinary college majors without remedial teaching, and only about 35% come out with enough grammar to get them through college English or journalism majors without remedial teaching.

rekirts
03-20-2006, 07:44 PM
And surely they had English class? Yes, but in English class they read stories and poems and answered questions about them, and wrote compositions of their own.

Strongbadia
03-29-2006, 04:13 AM
This structure is called a clause reduction. When the verb phrase (VP) is the same in the relative clause ("than I am tall"), the VP can be dropped.

NP1 + VP1 + NP2 + VP1 --> NP1 + VP1 + NP2



That is as far as the grammatical information that I have so far . . . honestly, people have written papers about this structure. I am pretty certain there are no easy answers.

Plus, the clause reduction rule really doesn't say anything does it.

KellyC
05-08-2006, 08:18 PM
Hello - I dug up this thread in search of another "I" vs "me" question. But I don't think it's here and it wasn't in Elements of Style either, from what I could find.

I'm woefully stupid about objective and subjective stuff, so please help:

Do I say:

he sat between the teacher and I

or

he sat between the teacher and me

It feels more natural for me to say the former, but it seems I hear the latter a lot, so now I'm confused. Please tell me a rule of thumb for this type of sentence as well.

THANKS!

reph
05-08-2006, 09:12 PM
"He sat between the teacher and me."

If switching the order of the words works for you, it can be the rule of thumb. "He sat between I and the teacher" or "He sat between me and the teacher"? Me! "I" sounds horrible.

But if "between I and the teacher" sounds all right to you, don't use that tactic. Try substituting "we" for "I" and "us" for "me." "I" and "we" are in the nominative case; "me" and "us" are in the objective case. So: "He sat between we and the teacher"? Ugh! No! He sat between us and the teacher. If "us" fits, then "me" fits.

KellyC
05-08-2006, 09:16 PM
Thanks Reph! That helps so much!

Is it just me, or do they all sound bad? I'm inclined to try to work it out of my writing altogether.

Maybe if I start writing clauses like these in the right way, they won't sound so awkward, but now...

reph
05-08-2006, 10:25 PM
Is it just me, or do they all sound bad?To me, some of them sound good. Maybe you've looked at them too long and they stopped making sense. This happens in reading individual words.

KellyC
05-09-2006, 03:02 AM
I think I've just been saying this particular phrase incorrectly for so long (and believing others had it wrong!), that the correct way doesn't sound right anymore. I appreciate you helping me out.

One day I'll be like Neo in the matrix and it will all become clear.
Kelly

chickenma
09-18-2013, 02:02 AM
This is an old thread, but I was just about to start one on this topic. At what point does actual usage change the language and become acceptable? Even the newscasters are saying "Susan went to the store with Jim and I," rather than the formerly correct "Jim and me."

Even in Obama's excellent book, Dreams From My Father, he is constantly misusing (as I was taught) the comparative: "He was taller than me." It should be, "He was taller than I."

My book is set in the 1860's among the literati, and I have no trouble using the "old" way. Still, I am often accused of sounding stilted. There is no way my characters would have used what in modern times passes for good English.

So has the language changed?

King Neptune
09-18-2013, 04:03 PM
There have been many changes in usage over the centuries, and some things that were used in the past would be considered wrong now. It was common to neglect agreement in number and to use forms that are considered illiterate, but that was among the common people. If you are dealing with literati, then you probably should read a few high-brow books of that era. Mark Twain was a writer for the common people, so don't follow his usage. Try reading some histories written then or maybe philosophy.

You probably should have started a new thread, but this was an interesting one to look at.

oakbark
09-18-2013, 08:23 PM
Even in Obama's excellent book, Dreams From My Father, he is constantly misusing (as I was taught) the comparative: "He was taller than me." It should be, "He was taller than I."


So has the language changed?

Even though one is correct and the other one not (if you go by the book) The spoken language isn't always by every rule. When writing,do we want to be correct or make way for an easy read.

I prefer Obamas
He was taller than me.
because it sounds and reads like a whole sentence , whereas (in my mind), the alternative sounds like it got cut off, needing more to make the flow feel right, as in
He was taller than I.. (realized, will ever be, could imagine, would have thought)