Comparisons & Possessive Pronouns
Episode #5 of the course English grammar by Kasia Sielicka, PhD
“Is this your first time in London?” asked Susan, eating her blueberry muffin.
“Yes, it is,” I answered, eating mine. “It’s a shame, really. I’m supposed to write an article about the Queen, and I’ve never been to London before!”
“Well, it’s time to fix that,” said Susan with a sly smile. “I’ll be your guide today!”
She grabbed my hand (her touch made my heart beat faster . . .) and pulled me out of the building. What could I do?
She showed me all the main tourist attractions of London, and I was really impressed.
“Wow, it’s so high!” I exclaimed when I saw Big Ben.
“It’s nowhere near as tall as the Shard! That’s the tallest building in London,” she replied.
“That is so much fun!” I shouted when I saw the funny-shaped Gherkin skyscraper.
“It’s nothing as fun as London Eye. We’ll get there soon!”
And we did. London Eye turned out to be a huge Ferris wheel that could just as well be found in an amusement park. We got into a car and went up. We could see a beautiful panorama of London . . . but I didn’t care. All I wanted to look at was Susan.
“This is, by far, the most wonderful time in my life,” I thought, smiling.
When you compare two things, you can simply say: “Big Ben is not as tall as the Shard” (= The Shard is taller than Big Ben). But if the difference is big, you might want to be more dramatic and say, “Big Ben is nowhere near as tall as the Shard” (Big Ben is much shorter). Similarly, “The Gherkin is nothing as fun as London Eye” (London Eye is much more fun than the Gherkin). More examples:
Sweden is nowhere near as warm as Egypt. (Egypt is much warmer than Sweden.)
Steel is nothing as expensive as diamonds. (Diamonds are much more expensive than steel.)
When you compare more than two things, you can simply say: “This is the most wonderful time in my life.” But to make it more dramatic, you can add “by far”: “This is, by far, the most wonderful time in my life” (all other wonderful moments were much less wonderful).
The Shard is, by far, the tallest building in London (all the others are much shorter).
Susan was eating her blueberry muffin and I was eating mine.
Of course, we could say “Susan was eating her blueberry muffin and I was eating my blueberry muffin,” but repeating the “blueberry muffin” sounds strange. So, to make it shorter and avoid repetition, we replace “my blueberry muffin” with “mine.” More examples:
Stop eating my lunch, eat yours instead!
She looked at her phone and he looked at his.
I tore up my dress and she cut up hers.
They visited their parents and we visited ours.
We emailed our boss and they phoned theirs.
How does John feel about Susan? And what does he decide to do about it? Find out tomorrow!
Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner
Share with friends