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Thread: comparative "fit"

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    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Which sentence is correct? "he is fitter than her" or " he is more fit than her." Let me know. Thanks.

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    He is fitter than she.

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    Originally posted by tigr

    Which sentence is correct? "he is fitter than her" or " he is more fit than her." Let me know. Thanks.
    The correct sentence is: He is fitter than her.
    "Fit" as an adjective means healthy or suitable and its comparative form is "fitter", while the superlative is "fitest". Remember that you must use "more than" and "the most" in comparative and superlative forms only when the adjective has more than two syllables.

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    Ankylosaurus Forum Admin Erin's Avatar
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    Remember the phrase "survival of the fittest."
    ☼ Waiting for Godot

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    The correct sentence is: He is fitter than her.
    I disagree. I still maintain it is "He is fitter than she".

    Care to adjudicate, Erin?

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    Ankylosaurus Forum Admin Erin's Avatar
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    Better in standard, formal English:

    He is fitter than she.

    More common in spoken English:

    He is fitter than her.
    ☼ Waiting for Godot

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    Indeed. However, the fact that the version with "her" version is "more common" than the version with "she" does not necessarily make it better, and certainly it would be wrong to use it in written English (say if you were writing a novel or something).

    It's not just a matter of style either. The common version can lead to ambiguity. Consider the following two examples:

    (1) John hates Jane. He likes his dog better than her.
    (2) John hates Jane. He likes his dog better than she.

    In formal English, both are correct, but they mean different things. Statement (1) means "John likes his dog more than John likes Jane", whereas statement (2) means "John likes his dog more than Jane likes John's dog". In common English, statement (1) would be used for both purposes, leading to ambiguity.

    So ... I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to tell people the standard, formal answer. For what it's worth, the common version may indeed be "more common", but it has not entirely replaced the correct version. Many people still use the formal version even in spoken English.

    Rommie

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    Ankylosaurus Forum Admin Erin's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Rommie

    So ... I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to tell people the standard, formal answer. For what it's worth, the common version may indeed be "more common", but it has not entirely replaced the correct version. Many people still use the formal version even in spoken English.
    Rommie, I agree with just about everything you say. The reason that I don't come right out and declare one way correct and the other incorrect is that I do believe that whoever reads this information here should be able to decide for herself which version she wants to use.

    It is true that the she version is the grammatically correct one, but I could easily imagine a number of situations in which one would purposely choose the so-called incorrect version. If, for example, somebody were hanging out with friends, just having fun, etc., he may choose (unwittingly or no) to violate the grammar rule for the sake of a kind of "linguistic cohesion" among his friends.

    In the end, I think it is really up to the "end user," if I may, whether to use grammatically correct language.
    ☼ Waiting for Godot

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