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"Même les élèves auraient été meilleurs que moi !"

Translation:Even the students would have been better than me!

June 15, 2016

19 Comments

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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sbarbour

Proper grammar is better than I. the verb was is understood

June 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

If you wrote a correct sentence ending with "I", you probably noticed that this is accepted as well.

June 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anneduol1ngo

You, and others, may be interested that the me/I is a 'controversy that’s been hotly debated since the eighteenth century'. It depends partly on whether the 'than' is considered a conjunction or a preposition.

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/than-i-versus-than-me

So both are correct. Unless the correct grammar is 'both is correct', as there are only two options and only one is correct at any given time so maybe one should say 'each is correct' and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

However I am impressed with your knowledge of English and French grammar, and perhaps you would like to comment further? Is 'que' in French both a preposition and a conjunction as in English?

December 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

Both "I" and "me" are correct, so "I" or "me" is accepted.

"Que" can only be a relative pronoun, an interrogative pronoun, a conjunction or an adverb. In comparisons (plus que, moins que, autant que), "que" is a conjunction.

December 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anneduol1ngo

Now I am a bit confused, having thought I had got it straight in my head. In English if 'than' in this a conjunction in this sentence, both 'I' and 'me' are correct. However, 'than' can be a preposition. So, if 'que' cannot be a preposition, how would one translate the English preposition 'than' into French?

From the article I gave a link to it says:

'Who wins? I believe Ken Wilson sums it up best in The Columbia Guide to Standard American English (3):

Than is both a subordinating conjunction, as in She is wiser than I am, and a preposition, as in She is wiser than me.... Since the following verb am is often dropped or “understood,” we regularly hear than I and than me. Some commentators believe that the conjunction is currently more frequent than the preposition, but both are unquestionably Standard.'

And,

'Also in support of the prepositionist, Arnold Zwicky (2), on the American Dialect Society listserv, points out that it’s possible in informal speech to “strand” than at the end of a sentence, as in He's the one who I'm faster than. And, while it’s sometimes possible to end a sentence with a preposition, it’s not possible to end it with a conjunction.'

So how would you say 'He's the one who I'm faster than' in French, with the 'than' being a preposition, since it cannot be a conjunction at the end of the sentence and so cannot be 'que'?

December 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

It would be impossible to distort the French construction in a way that "que" is at the end.

"C'est celui qui est moins rapide que moi" would be the safest translation, I think.

French and English grammar don't always map, that's a fact, and "que" will never be a preposition. It is probably conventional that "que" is considered as a conjunction in comparisons.

  • il est plus rapide que moi
  • il est plus rapide que je ne le suis (note the expletive "ne" and the object pronoun "le", representing "rapide" in the middle).
December 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anneduol1ngo

Thanks. I think that's it. English and French grammar do not always map. I was trying to fit French into the English Grammar mould. No wonder I couldn't sort it out!

I don't know why I didn't think of that. I should know, having a bit of knowledge of Zulu. Zulu grammar and English grammar also do not map.

December 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Reandw

They were treated better than I (was treated). They treated her better than (they treated) me.

April 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sbarbour

I should have said "better than me" is improper grammar. Because it's used so frequently, however, it is perhaps ok to accept IT also, but surely not as the first choice.

June 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ClassiDuo

Actually, "better than me" is preferable to "better than I" here; if you want to use "I" here, it is preferable to add the auxiliary verb material with it.

In sentences where there is not much of this material to repeat, it sounds OK e.g. "Even the students performed better than I did" or "Even the students were performing better than I was."

However, in this sentence it requires repeating a lot of material e.g. "Even the students would have been better than I would have been" (cf. "...better than I" sounds incomplete, and "better than I would" or "better than I would have" are incomplete"). Here, "...better than me" really does sound better.

"Me" is not merely an object pronoun in English (just as "moi" is not so in French). The only time where "me" would not work so well is when there would be ambiguity, such as in a case like "The students treated their teacher better than me"; here, it would be better to clarify whether "...better than I did" or "...better than they treated me" is intended.

(see also Steven Pinker, "The Sense of Style," p. 234)

October 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sbarbour

Agree to disagree. Certainly, "it is I" is on its way out, and pretty much out of date; only old fashioned sticklers ( comme moi) bother with it at all. So I concede.

October 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/frogcarguy2

Don't concede! Just because lots of people do it improperly, doesn't make it correct.

February 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anneduol1ngo

Please see my earlier comment on this. both are correct!

December 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saunarie

We no longer teach grammar in schools nor proper sentence construction. Even broadcasters use incorrect grammar "me and her went to the ball game" etc. which doesn't help.

October 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kwakagirl

if i put "even the pupils would have been better than me" it says wrong and the correct answer is " even the kids would have been better than me" if i put "kids" it says it's "pupils" - I give up! I also tried "students" - that was wrong as well!

December 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"Kids" is not part of the accepted translations.

So if you had a multiple-choice question with 3 options, remember that you have to choose ALL correct answers. Chances are there were 2 (and the one with "kids" was the wrong one).

December 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kwakagirl

its a "write this in English" question

January 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

All right then, so I don't know what happened because "Even the pupils would have been better than me" is an accepted translation.

January 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/10Vo8Cvs

again, i used the wrong word but duo prevents me from seeing it. help!

April 27, 2019
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