4

I've always had this problem. Why do people so often bother with using longer structures in comparisons instead of getting it shorter and simpler? I mean:

  1. Everyone in the world is a thousand times more interesting than I am.

  2. Everyone in the world is a thousand times more interesting than me.

or

  1. Harvard's smaller than I thought it would be.
  2. Harvard's smaller than I thought.

or

  1. That's the reason why I like NY hip-hop more than I like the LA rap scene.
  2. That's the reason why I like NY hip-hop more than the LA rap scene.

Is there any rule behind it? Or perhaps my examples (2.) are the ones that are incorrect?

  • That's the reason why => That's why :-) – Tᴚoɯɐuo Apr 9 '15 at 21:34
  • So there's nothing more to it? Just preferences? – Bebop B. Apr 9 '15 at 21:43
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    To me, it's about clarity. The extra words are unnecessary but they do make it patently clear what you mean – Catija Apr 9 '15 at 22:32
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    @Bebop Yup. Your second sentences are all perfectly fine. – cpast Apr 9 '15 at 22:33
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    Though I agree that your ellipsis examples are fine, keep in mind that sometimes ellipsis can cause confusion. For example, "Max gave Sally a nickel, and Harvey a dime." Is it "Max gave Sally a nickel, and [Max gave] Harvey a dime." or "Max gave Sally a nickel, and Harvey [gave Sally] a dime."? (An example from Unacceptable Ambiguity.) – Damkerng T. Apr 10 '15 at 9:37
2

Let me add that in the first pair of sentences, traditional American English grammar strongly prefers 1., that is, "Everyone is a thousand times more interesting than I am.

That said, native speakers say 2. all the time, but highly educated speakers will generally defer to 1, even if just because of habit. But the logic behind that preference is parallelism. You are making a comparison centered on the verb "to be" , i.e.,

"Everyone is" is a subject and a verb, so after the word "than" we need another subject and verb to complete the parallel thought, which naturally means "I am" should be the correct choice. Some older people might even say "Everyone is a thousand times more interesting than I" WITHOUT the am.

This is pretty rare now but it used to happen a lot with the last verb being implied.

Just some historical perspective about that first pair. But as I said earlier, it really doesn't matter anymore, all your sentences are well constructed! Choose whichever you prefer!

-1

They are all correct, atleast I can vouch for the 3rd block. We are comparing,

I like, "NY hip-hop" > "LA rap scene"

or

"I like NY hip-hop" > "I like LA rap scene"

it's all about the comparison. The main idea is that the type of clause/ sentence should remain the same on both sides of the comparative word.

  • But if you use the same construction to say: "I love Marry more than Sally" the sentence will be ambiguous. – Lucky Apr 11 '15 at 1:13
  • Hi Lucky,The sentence is not ambiguous because, I love "Mary > Sally". is what it means – Shantanu Chandra Apr 12 '15 at 6:57
  • It is ambiguous. It could mean either "I love Mary more than I love Sally" or "I love Mary more than Sally loves Mary". – snailcar May 21 '15 at 4:12

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