0

I came across a sentence today -

He resents your being more popular than he is

I always thought that while comparing two pronouns they should always be of the same type, like,

She is taller than he (is)

or

I care for him more than her

I understand that the first sentence that I mentioned is correct but the moment you take out the is in the end, my perception begins to change.

He resents your being more popular than he doesn't sound right to my ears.

Shouldn't this sentence, then, be -

He resents your being more popular than his

What rule is being followed here?

Edit: The question that this one has been marked as a possible duplicate of pertains to gerunds and the usage of possessive pronouns with them while my question is regarding comparison between two possessive pronouns in a sentence. Only the sentence used as example in both the questions is same but the questions asked are entirely different.

  • 1
    Possible duplicate of When is a gerund supposed to be preceded by a possessive adjective/determiner? (where He resents your being more popular than he is is the first example presented by the OP). – FumbleFingers May 24 '18 at 12:21
  • @FumbleFingers Yes, that is where I saw the sentence precisely and if you follow the replies and the comments on that page, you will realise that the question asked and the answers given there pertain to a very different topic. I saw the sentence there and checked that not even the best of grammarians there had objected to a separate possible grammatical error in the sentence (as per my knowledge) and so I posted it here as a new question since it falls under a different topic. It isn't a duplicate. – user18593 May 24 '18 at 16:42
  • Okay, I take your point. But if you'd seriously contemplate saying He resents your being more popular than his, I assume you're a non-native speaker anyway, and should be posting on English Language Learners. But you might note this earlier ELU answer, among other things to think about. – FumbleFingers May 24 '18 at 16:57
  • 2
    @FumbleFingers Oh.. I didn't know that this forum is only for native English speakers. I thought the usage is permitted based on the complexity of the question asked and not on the ethnicity of the person asking it. It does feel extremely odd and discriminatory to me, specially since the forum's name doesn't reflect the same, but I will respect the rules and post the question there. I wouldn't have posted it here in the first place if I knew it in advance. I suggest it be mentioned clearly somewhere. – user18593 May 24 '18 at 18:14
  • 1
    Sorry - I didn't express myself very well. It's not that ELU is only for native speakers. But it's not here to teach nns things that practically all native speakers know anyway. Specifically, that we can optionally precede a gerund (being more popular) by a possessive (your) rather than an "accusative" form (him). But if it's then followed by than and an alternative, we can't use a possessive in that position (in your case, it must be either than him or than he is). – FumbleFingers May 25 '18 at 12:28
0

Well, there simply is no rule about needing to matching pronouns/noun phrases in sentences using comparisons "more" or than". I would say the right way to think about the prescription is that you "should" use the proper case for the pronoun in the context of its own clause (or an imaginary clause that it is part of).

For example, consider this sentence: "In the enthusiasm of his passion he thought her more beautiful than she really was" (Consuelo).

There is no error here because the first pronoun takes its case according to its role in the surrounding clause (object—"he thought her") and the second pronoun takes its case according to its role in its own clause (subject—"she really was [beautiful]"—actually, it's not grammatical to explicitly add the word "beautiful" here, but that's the implied structure of the clause).

Similarly, people who prescribe using "he" in "She is taller than he" would as far as I know also prescribe using "he" in a sentence like "It is impossible for her to be taller than he".

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.