She was more excited about getting candy than seeing Santa.

  1. How is 'seeing' functioning here?
  2. How to analyse 'than seeing Santa', is it a phrase or clause?
  • 4
    haha, I can't help but say this. Santa is a claus(e) ..that's why he's Santa Claus !!
    – Varun Nair
    Dec 24, 2015 at 10:35
  • You might want to check out : ell.stackexchange.com/questions/6359/…
    – Varun Nair
    Dec 24, 2015 at 10:36
  • 5
    @VarunKN - and Santa's helpers are called "subordinate Clauses". (0: Dec 24, 2015 at 10:39
  • 2
    +1 Ho ho ho very good @CopperKettle, and Mrs Claus? A relative clause?
    – Peter
    Dec 24, 2015 at 13:31
  • 1
    @Subjunctive - I disagree slightly; than and instead of don't mean the same thing. Instead of implies she got candy rather than seeing Santa, and doesn't quite work grammatically. Than means that both happened, or at least were possibilities, but we're comparing the two things.
    – stangdon
    Dec 24, 2015 at 14:23

1 Answer 1


Seeing is a gerund, which is essentially a noun made from a verb. Literally, "seeing" means "the act of perceiving with the eyes", but in this case it's slightly more metaphorical and means "visiting".

Than is a conjunction, in this case a function word used to compare two different things. Than seeing Santa Claus is a phrase, since it doesn't have its own subject and verb.

  • What kind of phrase it is?
    – Onyx
    Dec 25, 2015 at 5:34
  • @Onyx - I think "than" is a transitional word into the gerund phrase "seeing Santa".
    – stangdon
    Dec 26, 2015 at 17:55

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