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Which of the following is the correct grammar usage?

  1. We scored as many runs as they.
  2. We scored as many runs as them?

Wren and Martin says nothing about this case. Please explain the rule involved.

  • 1
    Both are acceptable. Traditional grammar: "they". Most common current usage: "them". If you come across this on a standardized test, use "they". If you don't want to sound overly formal, use "them". See this question. The justification for "they" is that the sentence is "we scored as many runs as they did" with "they" dropped. – Peter Shor Apr 3 '14 at 14:35
  • 2
    More about equative (as .. as) constructions: Syntax and Semantics. – John Lawler Apr 3 '14 at 16:17
  • Be aware that some people won't accept 'them' as grammatically correct here. They're a dying breed, but if they're the ones paying you or marking your essay, they might take you with them. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 3 '14 at 16:28
  • @John According to the examples given under the "syntax link" the sentence can be broken as : We scored goals .They scored goals. So it turns out the final sentence should be : We scored as many goals as they(scored). Am I right ? – user18320 Apr 4 '14 at 4:31
  • We scored X goals and they scored X goals. X = X. – John Lawler Apr 4 '14 at 4:52
2

The traditional "correct" form is "they" as you can see by extending the sentence:

  1. We scored as many runs as they scored

  2. We scored as many runs as them scored

(2) is incorrect.

In your shortened examples, however, "them" is used often enough that native speakers will understand the meaning and, pragmatically, there isn't anything wrong with it. This is easier to notice when you reverse the nouns:

  1. We scored as many runs as they.
  2. We scored as many runs as them.
  3. They scored as many runs as we.
  4. They scored as many runs as us.

(3) sounds funny to me due to the missing "scored" and (4) sounds more correct which is why people often say (2) instead of (1).

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