I want to combine the following two sentences :

Don't compare yourself to your friends. You were better than your friends in the past.

I thought about saying : Don't compare yourself to your friends whom you were better than. But this sentence is very odd .Im not it even makes any sense. Can someone please tell me what is the correct form. Thank you

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    “Don’t compare yourself to friends you were better than.” – Robusto Jan 10 at 23:55
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    You were better than your friends in the past, so don't compare yourself to them. – Jason Bassford Jan 10 at 23:57

I agree with Robusto:

Don't compare yourself to the friends you were better than.

Don't compare yourself to the friends whom/that you were better than.

At least to me, it sounds good either of these ways. They have basically the same meaning as the original sentence and/or his.

Alternatively (and in my opinion this sounds more natural), you could just leave them apart:

Don't compare yourself to your friends; you're better than them.

The use of the past tense seems like a weird clarification, but if you were to keep with it, just use one of the first two.

Something else to consider is what Lawrence has said: the comment by Robusto is ambiguous in that the first sentence could (and probably does) refer only to the friends you were better than and not to friends you weren't better than. Here, I'd think Jason Bassford is better and less ambiguous with just adding a conjunction between the two sentences.

I've made an additional sentence to address this ambiguity, although it doesn't sound as natural anymore:

Don't compare yourself to your friends, whom you were better than.

  • Robusto's version isn't the same as the original. The original discourages comparison with all of the hearer's friends. In Robusto's version, only a subset of friends is to be excluded from comparison - namely, those the hearer is better than. – Lawrence Jan 11 at 1:24
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    Consider: 1. "Don't eat the beans in the pot. They are red." 2. "Don't eat the red beans in the pot." #1 implies the pot only has red beans; none of the beans in the pot are to be eaten. #2 allows for (say) green beans in the pot to be eaten. – Lawrence Jan 11 at 1:28
  • That is a good point. – Robert W. Jan 11 at 1:29
  • @Lawrence: I was going for extreme economy, and to demonstrate how whom can safely be omitted. The OP has to decide which items to include and which to jettison. Beyond that, it's all counting how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. – Robusto Jan 11 at 1:36
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    @Zlam: You can use anything you like after a "coma" ... everyone will be pleased just to find you can talk again. – Robusto Jan 12 at 20:29

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