Turning (as always) to Fowler's Modern English Usage, he states that "I" is correct, but that the colloquial use of "me" is so prevelant that using I without including am ("you are better than I am") could appear pedantic. Personally, I would consider "I" to be correct, but more often than not would use "me" in everyday speech.
Ok. In many scholarly pursuits, professions, and lines of work having a somewhat pedantic knowledge of the given subject or subject matter is considered by those involved in these activites(peers) to be a positive personal trait. While being overly pedantic can be tiresome, a moderate amount of it us usually accepted my most people. If you have ever studied for example: etymology, computer programming, electrical engineering or map making it would behoove you to be at the very least moderately pedantic. Personally, I am all right with "I", "I am" or "me" as they all convey the same concept in the sentence as used in this learning program.
Agree. While I scholastically. studied graphic design in my early years (which is far removed from being pedantic) in telecommunications in its own early early years I programed for it, BBSes and terminal software. Debugging is a very pedantic process. Was a Beta Tester of the first Internet Explorer browser. I found the MS programers hadn't been any where near pedantic enough. It was chuck full of bugs. I have a high regard for pedanticism.
While I understand your view, I don't believe that a language course should approve incorrect answers, even if they are used in common (incorrect) speech.
One of the cool things about language, as opposed to say math, is that common usage can make something "correct". And correct language usage does vary over time. Right now, I agree with andrewduo,
Yes, of course. Languages evolve. Otherwise English speakers would still be speaking Old English or Middle English.
"Incorrect" speech is how language evolves. Language is living creature and this is its mutations that allow it to grow. Without these changes spaniards,frenchman, italians, and portuguese would all be speaking latin.
oh good its not just me then. I,m gabberflasted at this one! In response to LICA98.
"you are better than I am" works in everyday English and in duolingo. What's the problem?
I've given you a lingot for that one. Sorry I can't altogether remove the negative with just my one up vote.
Not sure about this Fowler, "I" should be incorrect. "I" should only be used when it is the subject of a clause, as in "You are better than I am." When there is no verb, the compared party should not be in the nominative case. Hence, "You are better than me." Would anybody here say "You are better than he," "You are better than she" or "You are better than we"? For this sentence structure it should be me/him/her/us.
The clause "I am" is an embedded sentence, and so the verb can be dropped and is understood. However, "I" remains in the subjective case regardless. Same with the other pronouns you mention: subjective case.
I did some further reading and it depends on whether you see "than" as a conjunction or as a preposition. As a conjunction, a clause like "I am" would follow. As a preposition, an object like "me" would follow.
If you view "than" as a conjunction and use "I" the "am" is omitted and implied rather than embedded, but I'm not sure if that is correct or allowed.
That is definitely allowed and generally accepted as the correct formulation for this sentence. Than is generally always considered a conjunction, and reading it as a preposition is debatable.
Grammarians have argued about this point for hundreds of years. For me, the second half of your comment is the coup de grace. I cannot imagine even the worst pedants saying "They are better than we".
The logic behind using the nominative case is impeccable (especially when comparing with the Spanish we are learning) but nevertheless ignored.
So, as many people plead on here, let's grow up and start learning Spanish rather than arguing about the English.
Duolingo translated it as you are better than me. I much prefer the proper English form you are better than I which is the same as a direct translation of the Spanish. Why do they make bad translations like this?
I'll never need to know how to say this, but I will need to be able to comprehend it.
Descriptively, "You are better than I" is correct because "I" implies the clause "I am."
Thank you. I was wondering why there was a subject pronoun after a preposition.
How can I hear the difference between "Él es" and "Eres". They both sound the same to me.
It's much easier with a real human speaker than some of Duolingo's Spanish pronunciation. But the best way is to learn to pronounce the sounds properly yourself. Unfortunately, this means you'll have to learn the sounds elsewhere for some words. One you can say them properly, it becomes much easier to hear them properly. Except of course when Duolingo gets it so incredibly wrong that a native speaker would be confused (bilingüe for instance).
I came to the comments to get more clarity on this, and had to scroll through several yards of pointless internet debate - thanks for identifying what I was mixing up!
What is "que"'s function in this sentence? I was able to work out the right answer (spanish to english) but I can't account for what que does in the Spanish version.
among many meanings, it can mean "than". My concern was why it did not have an accent mark. perhaps when it doesn't, it means 'than", otherwise it means "what"; not sure
You're right, when 'que' has the accent it means 'what' and when it does not have the accent it just means 'than or that'
When que has an accent it is being used in a question, otherwise que does not have an accent. And when que is being used in a question, it always has an accent.
ive seen various other spanish phrases that end with the word "YO" instead of the seemingly more appropriate "MI". Though "YO" at the end of some phrases can sound odd to me (in spanish), what are the rules regarding ending a sentence with "YO" or "MI"? Thanks
two sentences ago I was proclaiming that I am the best (soy la mejor) and now someone is better?!
This is my favourite grammatical gripe. Better than ME is actually correct as me is the object of the sentence as in: Next to me, gave to me, taller than me. However, the use of "I" is a hypercorrection. It originates from children being repeatedly corrected when saying "Me and such and such are going to do such and such", and eventually coming to think that "I" is always correct when another person is involved in the sentence. Language is evolving though, and now many grammar experts will say that "I" is correct in this sentence because the language has evolved that way. So try not to lose as much sleep over it as I do. (Or as much a sleep as me.)
You are arguably correct in that the sentence "You are better than me" should be considered grammatical, but your explanation that it is simply the natural form and "than I" is a hypercorrection is not true. "Than I" has historically been the accepted construction, as evidenced by this ngram:
As you can see, "than me" is a relatively new occurrence, and it likely results from the discomfort of speakers with using a nominative pronoun in a position removed from any verb. In the standard grammatical reading of the sentence, than functions as a conjunction and the sentence is elliptical, with I leading its own clause ("You are better than I [am]."). That is why "than I" is used more in formal language.
There are two possible explanations for "than me". Both are contentious and neither is fully accepted. The first is that than could be considered a preposition rather than a conjunction in this usage. This would put it on par with words like to and from, which obviously take oblique, not nominative, pronouns ("to me", "from me"). The second is that this is an example of a disjunctive pronoun, the existence of which is universally accepted in other languages (such as French), but not usually in English. Disjunctive pronouns are pronouns used when not accompanied directly by a conjugated verb.
Language belongs to the people, so I'm willing to say "than me" in comfort, but it is worth noting that in a standard understanding of English grammar, "than I" is the unarguably correct formulation.
It seems silly to me that the question would be "You are better than whom?" universally agreed upon by grammarians, but then the declarative is formed by replacing whom with a subject pronoun.
I'd argue that the grammar rules have in some ways fallen behind on the usage of "than" as a preposition in one aspect of speech but advanced in the other.
This ngram shows the confusion caused by grammarians insisting on the use of subject pronouns without verbs. https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=than+who%2Cthan+whom
That is an interesting angle that I hadn't thought of before. I wonder if this is another case of hypercorrection that is so ingrained that we can't even recognize the originally correct form. By the same analogy I could say that your question is an elliptical form of "You are better than who [is]?" or it could be ordered "Who(m) are you better than?" I don't have a good answer though.
Is there ever a grammatical situation when the Spanish would prefer "Eres mejor que mi" instead of "Eres mejor que yo," or would that sound clunky?
Twice now I heard él es rather than eres. Could they get someone who speaks more distinctly?
Too be honest, it is just the way in which their accents allow them to say things- with more and more practise you will be able to distinguish between certain words.
How to distinguish 'el es' from 'eres' during listening? I think "El es mejor que yo" is also right.
I notice that when it's spoken, the "yo" sound like a y, instead of the usual j. I wonder when that is correct.
The pronunciation of the letters 'y' and 'll' vary slightly depending on where you are. The majority of Spanish speakers (the majority of Spanish speakers are in the Americas) pronounce it like the English 'y'. Some Spanish speakers, particularly some on Spain, Argentina and a few other places pronounce it more traditionally as what you are trying to describe. However, it is not the English 'j' sound at all. It is like a hard English 'sh'. Do you know how to pronounce (or at least how Americans pronounce) ZsaZsa Gabore's name? It's more that sound than a 'j'. The sound does not exist in English.
That depends on where you are. Just as English pronunciation varies from region to region, so does the pronunciation in Spanish, and the 'y' is one of the letters affected. Another one is the 'll,' combination.
That says You are me better. In the same way that the restriction applies to the verb be in English, ser usually can't take a direct object. Regardless, this sentence expresses a comparison between two syntactically equivalent subjects (you and I), so it completely changes the meaning to subjugate one as the object of the other.
I thought mejor also meant older? But I tried that and was marked wrong.
Yes, it definitely should be you are better than I (am...) You can hear the difference if you add am after me...
i put tan instead than and it counted it wrong, what kind of society do we live in#outraged.
If "menor" is "younger," why isnt "mejor" "older"?
(Please excuse if this has already been answered, I could not manage to wade through the relatively unrelated discussions this sentence apparently sparked!)
Would "You are more than me" count? That's what I answered, and it marked me wrong. Perhaps it should be considered 'almost right,' as 'mejor' can mean better, more, or older.
re Using 'me' or 'I': I think that the more proper version should be used. This is because a lot of people who are not fluent in English look to Duolingo for guidance. And if we insist upon using 'me', then the option to put 'I' should be given. It hurts to write 'me'. 'course it hurts to be me, and other people, too. :)