Courtesy of Oestara Publishing LLC

One reason for following the rules of grammar is that doing so will make your writing and speech more precise.  This is very much the case with ‘than/as’ constructions.

‘Than’ and ‘as’ show that a  comparison is being drawn between something in the first part of the sentence with something in the second.

Three types of pronouns are used in ‘than/as’ constructions:
      Subjective pronouns
      Objective pronouns
and     Possessive pronouns.

Typically,  an objective pronoun is mistakenly used:
      him  her  them  me us
when  a subjective pronoun is needed:
     he she they I  we
(‘You’ and ‘it’  are either subjective and objective, depending on which case is needed.)

The same sentence can have two totally different meanings.

 For instance,  a jealous woman might say:  “David likes Susan better than me,”
meaning that David prefers Susan to the jealous woman.

 However, if you were to say:  “David likes Susan better than I,” you would mean that you do not like Susan as much as David likes Susan.

What is happening is this:

 In “David likes Susan better than me,” the point is that ‘David’ is always doing the liking.
   “David likes Susan.”
  “David likes me.”

‘Susan’ is a direct object, and ‘me’ is compared as another object.  The word ‘than’ is serving as a preposition, and the word ‘me’ is the object of the preposition ‘than.’

In the sentence, “David likes Susan better than I,”  what is being compared is the amount of liking done by two different people.

 “David likes Susan.”
 “I like Susan.”

The word ‘than’ is now being used as a conjunction between two clauses.
 “David likes Susan better than I” means “David likes Susan better than I like Susan.”   You might have been thinking that the first sentence would sound better as “David likes Susan better than I do.”  You would be right in this case, but usually in this construction the verb is just understood without being said.  It is perfectly grammatical and clear to say “David likes Susan better than I.”

For instance a common sentence is:  “Doris is taller than he.”  The word ‘he’ is used because the comparison is between BEING tall. The sentence means “Doris is taller than he is tall.”

 “Doris is tall.”
 “He is tall.”

As you can see, you would never say, “Him is tall.”  To the educated ear, saying “Doris is taller than him” sounds every bit as silly as “Him is tall.”

If you are in doubt which pronoun to say or write, simply take  the verb from the first part of the sentence and put it into the second part.

 Griffins fly faster than harpies FLY.   So you could say “Griffins fly faster than THEY FLY” or “Griffins fly faster than THEY DO” or “Griffins fly faster than THEY.”
 Ogres are as strong as trolls ARE (strong).    So you could say “Ogres are as strong as THEY ARE” or “Ogres are as strong as THEY.”

The word ‘than’ is also being used as a conjunction between clauses in sentences where to possessive pronouns are being compared.  The possessive pronouns used after ‘than’ or ‘as’ are:

 mine   ours   yours   his   hers   its    theirs

 “Her spell works better than MINE” means “Her spell works better than MY SPELL WORKS.”

 Likewise, “Jack’s rocket ship flew faster than HERS” means “Jack’s rocket ship flew faster than HER ROCKET SHIP FLEW.”

In these sentences, the verb has been repeated in the second part of the sentence.   Fill in the blank with a pronoun that will agree with the verb.

1.  Maria wears more colorful clothing than  ________ wears.

2.  Carlos studied longer than ______ studied.

3.  Sue is as studious as  ____    is.

4.  Eric passes more tests than   ____  does.

5.  Marla enjoys thrillers more than  _____ enjoys thrillers.

6.  His work is just as good as  ______  is.

7.  Their work is even better than  ____  is.

8.   Your paper is better written than  _______   is.

In these sentences, move the verb to the end of the sentence and then write in an appropriate pronoun.

1.  Jose prefers mysteries more than  ______   ________   mysteries.

2.  My essay is more creative than  ________   _______.

3.  Our class writes more papers than  _______    _________.

4.  That astronomy class has seen more binary stars than  ______  ___________.

5.  However, our class has observed more comets than ________  _________.

6.  Samuel watches more television than ______  ________.

7.  Marta plays more computer games than  _________  ________.

8.  Ignacio is as tall as _________  __________.

9.  Tom is as smart as  __________   _______.

10. He spent as much time on his work as _______ __________.

Although you can always say the verb twice, you do not need to do so.   In these sentences fill in only the appropriate pronoun at the end of the sentence.

1.  Elkhouri has charted as many gaseous clouds as  ________.

2.  Yisel has discovered as many black holes as  ________.

3.  Hector has examined as many quasars as ________.

4. Yesenia has seen more supper novas than ________.

5. Edwardo wants to be an astronomer even more than ________.

6.  Mabel knows more about neutron stars tan  __________.

7. Edward, however, is just as knowledgeable as ________ about quasars.

8.  Monica has more expertise than ______ about planet formation.

9.   Yesenia has more degrees n astronomy than _______.

10.  Hector has more observation time under his belt than _______.

11. Maria has more accurate hunches about meteors than  ______.

12.  Edenia has studied nebulas more than  __________.

Remember that using ‘than/as’ constructions properly means that you will be saying exactly what you mean.

To the answer key

To the Grammar Table of Contents

copyright 1999  Cynthia Joyce Clay