I have been revisiting English grammar lessons for a test & I'm reading Pronouns. During a self test I came across this sentence "My dog can run much faster than ___". I selected "me" & computer said its wrong.

Is "My dog can run much faster than I" correct?

  • I think this question belongs to ell.stackexchange.com... – Yotam Salmon Jun 21 '16 at 11:45
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    Either may be appropriate--it depends on the discourse context. In the context of a test of English grammar the correct answer will almost always be "I", because that is the form preferred by the community of people who write tests of English grammar. See Dunning-Kruger Effect – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 21 '16 at 11:55
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    @YotamSalmon Not really--this question is just as relevant to native speakers as non-native speakers, as may be seen at the link posted by FumbleFingers. In any case, it would be closed as a duplicate on ELL, too. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 21 '16 at 11:56
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    @YotamSalmon The difference between ELU and ELL is less what kinds of questions are appropriate than what kinds of answers are needed. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 21 '16 at 13:02
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    @FumbleFingers Sort of. Their ignorance (sometimes wilful and even pugnacious) of any notion of grammaticality beyond what is handed down within their own very small discourse community makes them incapable of judging grammaticality expertly, while fortifying their notion that they are in fact expert. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 21 '16 at 14:25

Yes. Me is an object pronoun, so it doesn't do the action, it receives it. I is a subject pronoun, so it does the action.

In this sentence, both you and the dog are doing the action. Just add can at the end of the sentence and it won't be as confusing.

My dog can run much faster than I can.

Me can't run.

Edit - I must add that regardless of whether or not this is how we speak or if this actually the way we think of it , in the context of an English assessment, this is the right answer and explanation of that answer. Though, in truth most would just say me, even though it is not technically grammatically correct.


  • The alternative analysis here is to say that the NP "me" is functioning directly, immediately, as complement of the preposition "than". – BillJ Jun 21 '16 at 11:30
  • Did you read the linked duplicate question in the abvoe comment? Methinks you need to read it. – user140086 Jun 21 '16 at 12:30
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    @Rathony Regardless of common usage, this person asked for an answer in the context of a grammatical test. In most grammatical assessments, I is the answer, and I merely explained why that is the answer. – RE Lavender Jun 21 '16 at 13:01
  • You have every right to post a comment. No problem at all. – BillJ Jun 21 '16 at 13:11
  • I understand. But It would be nicer if you could include any reference to support your answer. I am not saying you are wrong, but ... – user140086 Jun 21 '16 at 13:30

It depends whether you're asking about English, or about the artificial language made up by grammarians a couple of hundred years ago on the basis of "If only this were Latin", and inflicted on schoolchildren ever since.

In the real English that most people speak,

My dog can run much faster than me.

is normal and grammatical, and the "than I" version sounds stilted and unnatural. The existence of "than I can" is irrelevant, as the 'than' has a different grammatical role.

In the made-up English that the test probably expects, "than I" is the only correct answer. That shows you how made-up it is.

  • A man no mightier than thyself or me in personal action, yet prodigious grown, and fearful as these strange eruptions are. -- Shakespeare, Julius Caeser, 1600. – dangph Jun 21 '16 at 13:01
  • Some people find "me" obtrusively informal. – BillJ Jun 21 '16 at 13:05
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    Merriam-Webster's Concise dictionary of English Usage has a fairly lengthy discussion about this and concludes that you can say it either way. Both forms go back a long way. Than me is more common in speech however. – dangph Jun 21 '16 at 13:06

Yes, it is short for "My dog can run much faster than I (can run)." That's why.

Despite the downvote, I persist in my answer. Bye.

  • Does this mean "My dog can run much faster than me" is entirely wrong? – Amrit Jun 21 '16 at 11:02
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    What do you mean by wrong? Native English speakers use it all the time, but grammar tests mark it down. – Peter Shor Jun 21 '16 at 11:05
  • @Raj \\ Yes. It might be understood, but it isn't correct. – Senex Ægypti Parvi Jun 21 '16 at 11:05
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    @Senex: It most certainly will be understood. In the early 20th century century, most people used I when writing. Now, most people use me when writing, and even more use me when speaking, but the test setters have not caught up with usage. See Ngram – Peter Shor Jun 21 '16 at 12:27
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    The point of a test is to find out what somebody has learned. So we can't really blame a specific test setter, let alone "test-setters" in general, without knowing whether their job was to test knowledge of common usage, or knowledge of formal grammar. – calum_b Jun 21 '16 at 15:31

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