I want you to talk rather than him to talk // his talking.

What should I say in this sentence ? Should I use gerund or infinitive after "rather than" ?
I know that I can just say “rather than him” . I really wonder which form would be correct.

  • There are lots of questions about gerunds and infinitives. Have you had a good search?
    – James K
    Dec 17 '19 at 23:07

In this sentence, I think "to talk" would make more sense; you will compare the phrase "him to talk" the preceding phrase "you to talk". If you use "his talking", you are comparing a verb to a noun, which doesn't sound good.

I think, this question relates to parallel form. "I rather your laughter than his laughter" would make sense, since it compares "your laughter" with "his laughter", which are both nouns. But "I rather your laughter than him to laugh" sounds less fluid, as it is comparing a noun with a verb. You can read more here on parallel structure.

While it sounds right, "I want you to talk rather than him talking" sounds slightly clunkier than "I want you to talk rather than him to talk" or "I want you talking rather than him talking". In both cases, it can be shortened to "I want you to talk rather than him (to talk/talking)".

So in this case, "I want your talking rather than his talking" or "I want you to talk rather than to hear his talking" sounds better. Note that using "his talking" vs "him to talk" can place a different emphasis on the meaning.

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