I recently saw a post in which the author asked which was correct:
“Than Sally and me” or “Than Sally and I.”
Which one do you think it is?
Most people commented that it was the second “than Sally and I.” A few said it was the first.
All of them are wrong.
Grammar geek explanation here…
The explanation for why it should be “I” and not “me” is that “than” is a conjunction which means that it requires the subjective case (that’s I). Some said that “than” was a preposition which means it takes the objective case (that’s me).
I thought “than” was a conjunction, but, seeing that there was dispute, I looked it up. I don’t like being wrong.
Turns out that the answer is both. (source)
“Than” can be either a conjunction or a preposition depending on how it is used.
But this isn’t a story about grammar. This is a story about the danger of assuming you’re right.
Many of the comments were just “I is correct.”
They heard it somewhere (in my case, from my grandfather), and when they heard it they were told that it is not only correct, but higher class to do it that way. It became not simply a point of grammar, but a point of pride.
These people feel have the attitude that those who use me are less classy than I.
(See what I did there?)
How important is it whether you use “I” or “me” after than?
But we often use this same “I heard it somewhere so it must be true” simplistic thinking on all kinds of topics. Economics, poverty policy, foreign policy, race issues, business, opportunity, and many other places where it really does matter.
I am very glad that my fear of being wrong in public pushed me to take a moment to look it up. I sure do like being right.
But this was a powerful reminder that we cannot believe everything that we think, and, that, just because we heard it somewhere, doesn’t mean it is true.
Sometimes when people disagree with you, it’s not because they’re stupid or ignorant.
Sometimes the answer is actually “both.”
Always, we should listen to and learn from those who disagree with us.