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Grammar Question

 
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lhasa



Joined: 26 Jan 2008

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:04 am    Post subject: Grammar Question Reply with quote

"I am cuter than nobody."

"I am cuter than no one."


What's wrong?
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thebektionary



Joined: 11 May 2011

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that both are wrong.

The proper way to say this would be "I'm not cuter than anybody".

Are you a Korean teacher?
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lhasa



Joined: 26 Jan 2008

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I'm not a Korean teacher but the question came from one.

I believe the students had to complete the following sentence for a grammar exercise:

"I am cuter than _____."

I wouldn't write either sentence but not sure why it is grammatically right or wrong.
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thebektionary



Joined: 11 May 2011

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel you. Sometimes it's so hard to determine if something awkward that we never say could be deemed as grammatically correct. I get these kinds of questions constantly after exam period.
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YTMND



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Location: You're the man now dog!!

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:34 am    Post subject: Re: Grammar Question Reply with quote

lhasa wrote:
"I am cuter than nobody."

"I am cuter than no one."

What's wrong?


No one is considered more formal than nobody. Both are ok, but usually we make it negative and use any-.

Now, who's on first and what's on second? Laughing
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tremault



Joined: 25 Sep 2012

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would prefer to adjust the sentence and insert 'not' into it.
I am not cuter than anybody.
but if the guideline is strict and has to use unnatural english just to prove a point, then the adjustment of my sentence would result in
I am cuter than nobody.

but if we are teaching the student english, we need to make it clear that it is not proper syntax to phrase it that way. it would be irresponsible to allow anybody to continue to phrase it like that.

"I am cuter than" is a positive statement about the subject. to add a negative object would be very awkward.

yeah there are some parts of english phrasing that use this method. the phrase "going nowhere fast" is a good example. but this is a common phrase and is deliberately subversive.
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drydell



Joined: 01 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

most use of nobody/no one ...

1 Beginning of sentence Nobody is cuter than me.
2 Short answers Who's cuter than me? Nobody.
3 After be and have There is nobody cuter than me.

so as others said - I am not cuter than anybody is the only way that sentence works correctly. Or maybe Everybody is cuter than me! but what a weird sentence - must be one hell of an ugly person!
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Privateer



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Location: Easy Street.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not grammatically wrong, but the negative framing indicates an unusual context, perhaps denying something. For example, it could be used with stress on 'anyone' by way of contrast with a preceding remark e.g. "Well, at least you're cuter than that girl".
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lhasa



Joined: 26 Jan 2008

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks to everyone for the helpful replies.
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