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I (a woman) frequently find myself wanting to reply to a statement with the phrase "You're a better man than I."

If I say this to a man though, it sounds absurd, and to a woman, potentially insulting. Is there a genderless equivalent for this phrase? The obvious choice, "a better person than I", seems to have a quite different connotation.

E.g. someone says to me, "I always eat my vegetables, and run a marathon every Tuesday," to which I reply, "You're a __________________ than I, " or "You're more _____________ than I."

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    You’re more dedicated than I am. – Jim Oct 12 '16 at 1:57
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    I see no problems with the connotations of "You're a better person than I." The context makes it clear you're not talking specifically about moral virtues. An alternative is "You're better than me." – GoldenGremlin Oct 12 '16 at 2:02
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    man : a human being of either sex; a person. – Mazura Oct 12 '16 at 2:02
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    What's wrong with "You're a better person than I am"? I've heard that, or statements very much similar, a number of times. – Hot Licks Oct 12 '16 at 2:16
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    You're a better carbon based life form than I. – candied_orange Oct 12 '16 at 9:08
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You're a better mensch than I.

You're a better soul than I.

Alternatively:

You've got more _______ than I, for example

You've got more heart than I.

You've got more commitment than I.

You've got better discipline than I.

  • Yes, but isn't the word 'mensch' gender-specific? Is there a female equivalent in Yiddish? – Peter Point Oct 12 '16 at 4:22
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    You've got more 'cojones' than I. – Peter Point Oct 12 '16 at 4:28
  • @PeterPoint - No, it's not gender specific at all. It means "human", but I chose it because it's one syllable instead of two, and in the original "You're a better man than I," man is only one syllable. Somewhat related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/272481/… – aparente001 Oct 12 '16 at 5:05
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    Re your second comment: People in the U.S. often use vulgar terms from other languages, thinking that since the term isn't English, others won't be offended by the vulgarity. I disapprove of that practice. (You're not alone in doing it.) – aparente001 Oct 12 '16 at 5:08
  • Re my second comment: Sincere apologies if this offended your own sensibilities or, for that matter, those of any of our numerous American cousins on site. Evidently we in the UK have a long way to go in the use of language, Anglo or otherwise. The OED lists that word as meaning "courage; guts", distinguishing it from its "vulgar" use and meaning in North America. Wait a minute: America's pukka dictionary, Merriam-Webster online, defines it first-on-the list as, "Boldness or courage needed to do something". The "other" meaning is listed separately thereafter, in the alternative. – Peter Point Oct 12 '16 at 6:15
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In most cases, people are pretty comfortable accepting "man" as meaning "human". That particular phrase isn't likely to see much use in a formal setting either, so the subtleties of pronoun-based sexism aren't likely to come up through its appropriate use. Otherwise...

You're a better person than I.

Or

You're a better [genderless or appropriate title] than I. (Example: "You're a better vegetarian than I.")

In general conversation, person can stand in for man in almost all cases. It just sounds awkward when used in a title. (Example: Police-Person)

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This is a bit off the beaten path, but I'll try it because I think it would work well. It sidesteps the gender issues of man and the banality of person, while having a humorous aspect. How about creature?

You're a better creature than I.

From Merriam-Webster:

creature: an animal of any type

Try it, you might like it!

  • I actually like that a lot more than the answer I gave! – JAMalcolmson Oct 12 '16 at 2:57
  • @Richard Kayser Salutations! I like wandering off the beaten path, what? "Tho' I've belted and flayed you, by the living Gawd that made you, your'e a better man than I am, Gunga Din!" From Rudyard Kipling's poem, 'Gunga Din'. – Peter Point Oct 12 '16 at 4:38
  • @PeterPoint Salutations! Good to hear from you. Thanks for the Gunga Din. Much appreciated. "Is man merely a mistake of Gawd's? Or Gawd merely a mistake of man's?" Nietzsche. – Richard Kayser Oct 12 '16 at 4:54
  • @RichardKayser You're asking me? This is beyond my ken. It's a pity that the Patron Saint of Atheists, the late Christopher Hitchins, is no longer here to enter the philosophical debate of God vs Man and vice-versa. I remain an unapologetic Marxist on all things of that kind. Yes, dear old Groucho influenced my thinking in more ways than anyone can possibly imagine. – Peter Point Oct 12 '16 at 5:27
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    I don't really like this answer - mainly because "creature" in reference to humans normally carries connotations of peculiarity (which doesn't fit the context). – Ant P Oct 12 '16 at 7:22
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I agree. "You're a better person than I" is often used. Why not "You're a better woman than I" when speaking to a woman?

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