I want to know which one is the most fitting one and if all of them are grammatically correct.

I was a clown, but I was more like an elephant.

I was a clown, but was more like an elephant.

I was a clown, but more like an elephant.

And in this case.

This is not a straw man but more like a spectre.

This is not a straw man but is more like a spectre.

This is not a straw man but this is more like a spectre.

  • At least with the omission of the pronouns, I think this is relevant. – Alex W Jul 20 '15 at 21:20
  • But I am still not so sure – sooeithdk Jul 20 '15 at 21:48
  • Only the last really rubs one the wrong way. It's a matter of choosing the style that suits you and the rest of the work you are writing. – Hot Licks Jul 20 '15 at 22:29
  • The first examples are separated by commas. Wouldn't that make them independent clauses which require a subject and predicate? If that's the case, then I would say that the second example could not be considered grammatical. – Alex W Jul 21 '15 at 15:11

All of them are grammatically correct, although the last is clumsy enough that I doubt you'll hear it.

Of the first three, the only difference between them is stylistic: how brief do you wish your sentences to be?

That said, the construction usually uses two words which are related, such as "I was a lawyer, but I was more like a secretary." These are related in the sense that both sorts commonly work in the same office, and an individual might serve either function. It is very difficult to connect clown/elephant: they are both found in a circus, but they are not (usually) considered interchangeable. Exactly how does a person behave so that he is more like an elephant than like a clown? Eating peanuts and blowing water through your nose doesn't count.

Likewise, a straw man is an imaginary opponent in an argument, selected to provide an easy, but erroneous, means of attacking a real opponents position. A spectre, while also (one hopes) imaginary, is not part of any argument technique that I'm familiar with.

  • So it means if the subjects are interchangeable, all of them are correct except for the last one in the second group. Right? – sooeithdk Jul 20 '15 at 22:34
  • No, they are all correct. The last one is just clumsy. Note that the 6th means the same as the fourth, but uses two words more to say the same thing and gains no clarity in doing so. The first is similar with respect to the third, but first person statements often are less concise than third person statements. – WhatRoughBeast Jul 20 '15 at 22:41

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.