He loves pizza more than . . .

“more than me?”

Or “more than I?”

Well, it depends. I know, you all HATE when that’s the answer, but it’s the answer. Suck it up and keep reading.

What are you trying to say? What possible difference can that make? It can make or break a relationship. Seriously. Keep reading.

He loves pizza more than me. There’s information missing there. It’s “understood” or “implied,” but it’s not written or spoken. That information is “he loves.” He loves pizza more than he loves me. That’s what this construction is really saying, at its core. “Me” is the objective case first-person pronoun. That’s how we know the full wording is “than he loves me.” (Would you seriously say “more than me loves pizza?” Really? Didn’t think so.) That must be some really amazing pizza, though. Man.

Anyway, here’s the other side. He loves pizza more than I. This one’s not nearly as soul-crushing once it’s unpacked. The missing (implied, understood) information here is “I love pizza.”I” is the subjective case first-person pronoun. (Again, I’ll bet you’d never say “more than he loves I.” You know better.) So he loves it more than I do. Big deal. I can cope with that.

The thing is, as usual, often we say “more than me” when what we really mean is “more than I.” And sometimes it’s not nearly as big a deal. “He is taller than me.” So what. He’s taller. Sure you could be all formal and say “He is taller than I,” with the understood addition of “am tall” (he is taller than I am tall), or even “he is taller than I am,” and the meaning is the same. He’s taller than me is the same as he’s taller than I. (This is the pragmatic grammarian speaking, here. A prescriptivist would rail against ever saying “taller than me.” Bullshit. We use that construction all the time in everyday informal speech. It’s fine.) She’s thinner than me. She’s thinner than I. He runs faster than me. He runs faster than I. Doesn’t make a difference there, either. Older than me. Younger than I. It’s all the same meaning, with these. (Notice, too, that these are all comparative statements. Faster than, younger than, older than, thinner than. Comparisons.)

Trouble starts when you use the construction with words like “like” and “love.” What do you love more? Pizza, or me? (Think before you answer that.)

What about “He drives that truck more often than me”? Sure, we can assume that means I don’t drive that truck as often as he does, but . . . yeah. I’d say “He drives that truck more often than I do.” Without the “do” on the end it just sounds snooty. And no one likes to sound snooty. (Well, some people do. That’s their thing, not mine. It’s also good to keep in mind if you’re writing dialogue for that kind of character. Would Hank say “more often than I,” “more often than I do,” or “more often than me”? Words matter. Word choice matters.)

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