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He was almost as bad at English as me.

He was almost as bad at English as I.

The first one sounds better as-is, but not when you change the second one to He was almost as bad at English as I was.

Which is correct?

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I think this is related: english.stackexchange.com/q/3447/50720 –  LePressentiment Jul 1 at 11:32

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

To begin with, one and another are bad at English:

  • He was bad at English.
  • I was bad at English.

Using "almost as___as" to compare your proficiency, in full, one writes:

He was almost as bad at English as I [was].

The construction,

He was almost as bad at English as me,

though more familiar to the ears, is wrong, as me (object pronoun) cannot take the place of he (subject pronoun) in the sentence, which is always a good way to check if these constructions are right:

  • Me was almost as bad at English as he [was] ?!

If one does this switch with I, though, then it makes sense:

  • I was almost as bad at English as he [was].

Errors in the usage of subject/object pronouns are quite common, especially when comparing things. In this example, the pronoun[s] used must always be the subject form. Other examples:

  • Jake was almost as bad at English as I [was].
  • I was almost as bad at English as she [was].
  • They were almost as bad at English as he [was].
  • He was almost as bad at English as they [were].
  • She was almost as bad at English as we* [were].

Using us in place of we is probably the next most popular error after I/me. Very frequently, one hears comparisons such as the following:

  • They are better than us
  • He's just as bad as us

Though colloquial, this usage is ungrammatical. Again, one can always perform the switch in order to verify the correctness of a comparison:

  • Us are better than they ?!
  • Us are just as bad as he ?!

It is clear that we is the correct pronoun choice.

The wrong usage of them in place of they is also another common error in this regard.

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1  
Except that "He was almost as bad at English as me" is probably on the way to become dominant, and then it will be right (that's the way with languages). And for another, everyone (even grammar nazis (and I'm aware this is a site for them ;-))) understand the meaning. –  Jürgen A. Erhard Jan 10 '11 at 12:41
2  
"He was almost as bad at English as me" is correct (though the other form is, as Jimi notes, correct too). Shakespeare wrote: "He who has injured thee was either stronger or weaker than thee" (not "than thou (wert/art)"); and "Charges she more than me?" (not "more than I (charge)"). In these cases "than" acts like a preposition, so the object pronoun is used. The trouble is that, for some reason, there used to be a fashion for trying to apply rules of Latin/Greek grammar to English (hence this "rule"), despite the fact that English grammar is only distantly related to these languages... –  psmears Jan 10 '11 at 14:02

Evolved English: He was almost as bad at English as me.

Queen's English: He was almost as bad at English as I.

Redundant English: He was almost as bad at English as I was (or used to be).

That last one is equal to saying "Either he'll come tomorrow, or he won't come tomorrow."

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Do you have any reference to that "evolved english"? I tried to search for it, and found nothing about it. –  Guffa Jan 10 '11 at 7:41
    
What I meant by 'evolved' was that it has become acceptable over a period of time to use "me" instead of "I" at the end of a sentence. I initially wanted to say "American" English but that might be politically incorrect. –  Max Jan 10 '11 at 8:01
    
And what "it has become acceptable" means is that it is right. That's what "descriptive" vs "prescriptive" is all about (and I come from a prescriptive language, namely, German... and I love/hate it :D) –  Jürgen A. Erhard Jan 10 '11 at 12:43
    
Indeed it seems it always was acceptable, see my note on its use in Shakespeare attached to Jimi's answer... –  psmears Jan 10 '11 at 14:04

The second is correct.

You use the form "me" when you are the object in the sentence, like in "He asked me". In the sentence above you are not the object, so the normal form "I" is used.

The "was" is implied, so including it doesn't change the meaning or the grammar. When you include it, it becomes clearer what's right.

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