Saturday, July 18, 2015
Shirley from Spider Lake asked which of the following is correct:
John is taller than me.
John is taller than I.
This one has an answer that will satisfy few people. Given the right circumstances, both can be correct. A quick review: I is the subject form of the pronoun and me is the object form of the same pronoun.
The wild card is the word than. Sometimes it’s a preposition, and sometimes it’s a conjunction. If you view it as a preposition, then it requires an object: John is taller than me. If you see it as a conjunction, then it will be followed by a subject/verb construction: John is taller than I am—or, in its abbreviated form, John is taller than I.
Ambiguity is nothing surprising in English. If someone were to ask if the noun hockey is a subject or an object, the correct answer would be, “that depends.” If you write hockey is a dynamic sport, the word hockey is a subject. Write I really enjoy hockey, and it’s an object. Compounding matters, talk about a hockey stick, and it's an adjective.
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