Know Thy English: “Than me” vs “Than I”

Now this is one of the things I thought I got absolutely nailed until I stared researching it. This rabbit hole definitely goes deeper than I thought it does!

Here, quickly identify the correct sentence out of the below:

  1. He runs faster than I.
  2. He runs faster than me.

If your answer was Sentence 2 then you should know that you have picked the one that is argued as incorrect English by many a grammarians around the world. Both forms are accepted in written English but the “than I” variant is more grammatically correct.

Surprised!? So was I.

To get into the technicalities of it, “than” is considered a conjunction which means that it joins two complete sentences.There are a bunch of people who will say that “than” is also a preposition but let’s not worry about that for now.

To put things into perspective, you can try to expand the sentence which will lay bare the fallacy –

  1. He runs faster than I run. (this is obviously correct)
  2. He runs faster than me runs. (Unless you want to sound like a “medieval English” person, best to avoid this :P)

There is also one interesting dilemma with using “than me”. Consider the below sentence.

He loves her more than me.

The above could mean ANY of the below two things!

  1. He loves her more than he loves me.
  2. He loves her more than I love her.

And that is exactly why it is always recommended to expand your sentences to wipe away any ambiguity whatsoever!

Hope you have learned something today, I definitely did! Until next time then.

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8 thoughts on “Know Thy English: “Than me” vs “Than I”

  1. Oh my God, wow I never realised this. I’m definitely going to take this into consideration when I’m writing next. It’s good that you’ve also learnt something man and funnily enough, it’s actually a more common mistake than the other ones that you did before.

    Very insightful man,

    – Ainsworth πŸ™‚

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    • Yes, I was glad to have stumbled upon this too. It makes you realize how many other intricacies like this exist in the English language! It’s nice that I’m learning as well as spreading the knowledge πŸ™‚

      – Uday πŸ™‚

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