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What's a good way to write a sentence like the following:

I want it rather than him.

where I mean that "I want (to have) it rather than him (having it)," and don't want the sentence to be potentially misread as "I want (to have) it rather than (to have) him"?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

I think the problem is that you are mixing two different wants. 1. You want the thing. 2. You want the decision of who gets it to be made in your favor rather than his.

You could say:

I would rather I had it than he [had it].

or you could say:

I would like it to go to me rather than to him.

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How about this?

I want it and would rather he not have it.

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Assuming that one can manage any potential ambiguity between

  • I want to get it.


  • I want to get him.

-- which really only arises in writing -- a good candidate might be

  • I want to get it, instead of him. (note especially the contrastively stressed "I")
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Or, added above to the others suggestion, you could say:

I want myself to have it, not him

Where it's quite clear what you want.

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