Hi everybody,

I was reading Dickens' "Sketches by Boz" and I found the sentence "the secretary, than whom he knows no more zealous (...) individual". I had never found this construction before, and although it seems quite correct and logical to me, I don't know whether there is a more common way to say it nowadays (or, for that matter, in the 19th century). In fact, I cannot even think of a "normal" way to translate it into my mother tongue, even though I have grasped perfectly well the meaning of the sentence. Does it sound pedantic, or just learned? Because it is not the kind of sentence I'm likely to hear everywhere, is it?

Hello Colombo, and welcome to English Forums.

Yes, nowadays it sounds quite formal and old-fashioned... but then, it was written in the mid-19th century. And-- I remember no details of the book-- it could moreover be Dickens stylizing on a character. A more up-to-date rendition might be: the secretary, the most zealous person he knows...
Mister Micawber, thank you very much for your quick answer. And for the alternative construction, too. It's so easy! But, somehow, I hadn't thought of it!

I'll cross that sentence off my list of ready-to-use new constructions! Emotion: wink