2

I used this sentence on one occasion, but after speaking it seemed like it's wrong.

Context: I and my friend are on a holiday and my friend will return before me. I told another friend of our's that

I'll be coming later than him.

Is this a correct formation?

  • Yes, it's fine, though you might consider saying I'll be coming back later than him or I'll be returning later than him. What is the cause of your unease? – BillJ Feb 3 '17 at 12:42
  • Technically I think it should be "later than he", which you'll see if you put a verb after it: "later than he arrives", not "later than him arrives." But in practice, everyone in the US seems to use him if they're not using a verb there. – stangdon Feb 3 '17 at 13:02
  • 2
    @stangdon If the pronoun is understood as object of the preposition "than", then accusative "him" is correct. If it is subject of a subordinate clause, then the choice depends on style; either formal nominative "he" or informal accusative "him". as in "I'll be coming home later than [he / him _ ]" – BillJ Feb 3 '17 at 13:15
  • It might be grammatical, but who says it like that? I'll be there later than he will be. "I'll be later than he will (be). "I'll be there after he is." Colloquially, ""I'll get there after him/ I'll be later than him." – WRX Feb 3 '17 at 20:37
  • No, I don't speak like that. One unfortunate night, I spurted it out. Later, I was just thinking if it's correct. – gandharva Feb 6 '17 at 7:14
3

Utterance: I'll be coming [back] later than him.

1) Than is a comparative adjective.

For example: This ball is bigger than that ball.

2) If you compare two people using pronouns, the standard grammar is:

I'll be coming back later than he will.

subject pronouns are used for comparisons: more than, less than, later than, earlier than, etc.

3) In everyday speech, it is now acceptable to use an indirect object pronoun (that is: me, him, them, me, us [her and you don't change] instead of a subject pronoun.

The standard usage is: I'll be coming back **later than he will****.

In the standard usage the subject pronoun is used and the auxiliary verb or the verb be is used also. With be, you repeat the verb.

A) The girls are running faster than the boys are. [standard]

The girls are running faster than them. [informal]

The girls are running faster than they are. [standard]

B) They speak better Chinese than us. [informal]

They speak better Chinese than we do. [standard]

c) His sister is taller than me. [informal]

His sister is taller than I am. [standard]

Depending on the circumstances, one might want to watch one's ps and qs here.

| improve this answer | |
1

To be clear, you should use a more specific verb such as:

I'll be returning later than him.

or add more information about the destination:

I'll be coming back later than him.

It sort of depends on the context of the conversation and the preceding sentence(s). If the friend is on holiday with you, you should say "I'll be going back later than him", but if the friend is at your home town/country, then "coming" is acceptable.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.