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Let's take a sample sentence:

This game is funnier than I thought.

We compare the game. The game is funny, but not as I thought first. We are trying to find what is compared to the game.

  • 1
    there, "than I thought" could be paraphrased "than I expected [it to be]" – TRomano Feb 20 '16 at 13:34
  • This is a good question, but not for this site. Ask it here: ell.stackexchange.com – TRomano Feb 20 '16 at 19:54
3

The game is funnier than I thought.

That is,

The game is funnier than the assumed/imagined game in my mind before I actually experienced the actual game.

  • The game was funnier than I thought [it was]. it was is implied. – Lambie Feb 20 '16 at 13:35
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    @Lambie More "The game was funnier than I thought [it would be]" – Henry Feb 20 '16 at 13:36
  • could be either: thought it would be or thought it was. The point is one of those is implied. – Lambie Mar 14 '16 at 15:07
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Its meaning is:

The game is x funny; I thought it would be y funny; x > y.

1

I think you have answered your own question. You thought the game was one thing, but it is not. It is funnier. You are comparing two different opinions about the game.

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