The word he's is a contraction of the words he and is. If I want to use the contraction to say

I'm a better driver than he is

I should be able to say/write I'm a better driver than he's, but that just sounds awfully wrong in my head.

Is it correct to say/write

I'm a better driver than he's

I reckon it might sound silly due to the fact that it sounds like I'm saying I'm a better driver than his when pronounced.


2 Answers 2


You can not use the contraction if the be-ing verb is the singular expression of your sentence

He's a good driver, are you?
I am!
I'm as good a driver.

You're a good driver, is he?
He is!
He 's a better driver.

  • Why not? See duplicate for an explanation.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 18:15
  • @JavaLatte, I think user J's comment in the first linked dupe has the relevant answer. "Who is? I'm", but "Are you? I am." It's not so much a matter of grammar, but the stress simply reduces the pronunciation and the verb is not even needed in the former. In writing, contractions should not be used anyway, except for literal speech, of course.
    – Hector von
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 18:30
  • The duplicate question shows it's not possible for positive answers but possible for negative ones which is what I have shown. I was also taught not to use contractions in either the positive or negative cases since the answer would be clearer "He is not.", "He can not.", granted in informal conversation "He isn't.", "He can't." gets used.
    – Peter
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 18:33
  • @Peter: It doesn't really show, StoneyB merely claims it, but doesn't show why and didn't respond to the comment to his answer. I don't care for upvotes, I care for facts. Sure enough, frequency of usage is a fact and indeed there is no single ngram of that style. In the example "than he is", the verb arguably doesn't convey significant meaning, though, so it wouldn't hurt to contract either. I'm still not saying it would be formally correct to contract, that would be paradox.
    – Hector von
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 18:40
  • @Hectorvon; "In writing, contractions should not be used anyway": that's rubbish! You yourself disprove your point by using it's earlier in the same comment.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 19:08

"I'm a better driver than he is", sounds formal, so using the informal contraction "he's" would sound out of style.

Colloquially common is "than him/he" for whatever reason. "than he's" just isn't common for what ever reason, but according to ngram its use increases slowly in books. Comparing all the variants limited to ngrams at the end of a sentence to avoid confusion with similar constructs an overall decrease is notable (edit: and most notably, not a single instance of the contraction was found).

Edit: Check "than her" versus "than she" on that matter.

  • 1
    It isn't a matter of formality. You grammatically cannot use the contracted "he's" at the end of a sentence.
    – stangdon
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 18:13
  • You really think that's what it's? I wouldn't strictly disagree, but the more I think about it the more natural it sounds. I would like to know which rules of grammar you derived that from. If you mean a singular rule that is modeled after usage, that would be circular reasoning.
    – Hector von
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 18:46
  • Well, since there is no "Official Academy of the English Language", all rules are effectively modeled after usage, no? And using he's at the end of a sentence sounds distinctly unnatural to this US English speaker. But if you want a cite, try dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/writing/… : "We don’t use affirmative contractions at the end of clauses: A: I think we’re lost. B: Yes, I think we are. Not: I think we’re"
    – stangdon
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 19:54
  • @stangdon, I'm arguing a lot because I wasn't consciously aware of it. A reasonable rule needs a functional motivation. For example, the explanation of comma punctuation as representation of pause in speech is infuriating to me because punctuation as well as pauses should function to help understanding. I should have followed Davo's link, because Oxford mentions Stranding. "I think so" or "I think, we are lost". Omission of an object makes an elipsis: "I think, we are ...".
    – Hector von
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 9:31
  • That's as far as I understood, but I'm confused, the linked answer seems to imply "We are." would be a fine sentence. Nevermind, cambridge says stranding is fine, informally. But then, the verb is obvious from the context and we are back at she versus her.
    – Hector von
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 9:42

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .