I'm trying to present a comparison of Jake's and Eric's cleverness at the age of 18

Jake is 18 years old, and Eric is 32.

1)Jake is much cleverer at 18 than Eirc was when he was 18

2)Jake is much cleverer at 18 than Eric was at 18

3)Jake is much cleverer than Eric was at 18

Rephrasing the sentence doesn't clear up my confusion.

1)Eric, at 18, wasn't as clever as Jake is at 18.

2)Eric, at 18, wasn't as clever as Jake at 18

3)Eric wasn't as clever as Jake at 18

I would like to know whether all of them are grammatically correct or not. Do they all convey the same meaning?

Any help will be appreciated.

  • 1
    They are syntactically correct and appear to all convey the same information (given that the listener knows Jake is 18). Your rephrasing of #3 is confusing and a hair ambiguous, though. And better ways could definitely be found to express the same ideas more clearly. – Hot Licks Mar 5 '16 at 1:31
  • Thanks for the reply. Can you suggest me a better and simple way to express the same ideas more clearly? – S.Khan Mar 5 '16 at 1:37

For a better phrasing one would need to know the context. The shortest sentence here is probably not the best choice, but rather you should incorporate some of the "adjacent" text into your sentence to make it less "clinical". Something like:

Yes, Jake's pretty smart for 18. When I think of Eric when he was 18 vs Jake now, I'd say Jake's the more clever of the two.

  • But Ron's suggestions are good, too. – Hot Licks Mar 5 '16 at 1:44
  • Thanks again. If I wanted to use as few words as possible, would #1 and #2 do the trick for me? – S.Khan Mar 5 '16 at 2:15

You didn't list it, but this is how I would say what you are trying to say.

"At 18, Jake is far more clever than Eric was at that age." or "Jake is far more clever than Eric was when HE was 18" The second one assumes that you've already established Eric's age as older than Jake's. Here is an example, in context, of how I might say it.

"Eric was blown away! Not that Jake got a perfect score on his entrance exam but rather that it had only taken him 15 minutes to complete it. Years ago, when Eric had taken the very same entrance exam, he had also received a perfect score. However, it had taken Eric nearly five hours to do what Jake had just accomplished in fifteen minutes; begrudgingly, Eric had to admit that at the age of 18, Jake was far more clever than Eric had ever been at his age."

Also: It's not right to say "cleverer"; one usually says "more clever". Hope this helps.

  • 1
    It's not wrong to say "cleverer", but it's an awkward word and a good one to avoid if possible. – Hot Licks Mar 5 '16 at 1:45
  • Thanks for the answer. It's quite helpful, but the second example in the first paragraph is a bit confusing as it doesn't indicate the fact that Jake's 18. – S.Khan Mar 5 '16 at 2:01

18 year old Jake is much more clever than Eric was at that age.

I agree with the comment that "cleverer" is a "word" that should be avoided.

  • This is just my opinion, but I'd prefer much cleverer in the written version, at least. The er at the end of more clever tends to induce a double-take to verify it's not mistakenly more cleverer. – Lawrence Mar 5 '16 at 2:33
  • In other news, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels have agreed to star in an upcoming movie on intelligence-increasing pharmaceuticals. The new movie has them reprising the roles of Harry and Lloyd, and is rumored to be titled, "Clever and Cleverer". OK, so "cleverer" definitely works there. Got me on that one. – Developer63 Mar 5 '16 at 2:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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