Degrees of Comparison

in grammar

 

 

Topic Introduction

 

The Degrees of Comparison in English grammar are made with the Adjective and Adverb words to show how big or small, high or low, more or less, many or few, etc., of the qualities, numbers and positions of the nouns (persons, things and places) in comparison to the others mentioned in the other part of a sentence or expression.

An Adjective is a word which qualifies (shows how big, small, great, many, few, etc.) a noun or a pronoun is in a sentence.

An adjective can be attributive (comes before a noun) or predicative (comes in the predicate part):

e.g.  He is a tall man. (‘tall’ —  adjective – attributive)

This man is tall.  (‘tall’ —  adjective – predicative)

An Adverb is a word which adds to the meaning of the main verb (how it is done, when it is done, etc.) of a sentence or expression.

It normally ends with ‘ly’, but there are some adverbs that are without ‘ly’:

e.g.  She ate her lunch quickly.   He speaks clearly.  They type fast.

Kinds of comparison:

1. POSITIVE DEGREE: Tom is tall a boy.

In this sentence the word ‘tall’ is an adjective telling us how Tom is.  There is no other person or thing in this sentence used to compare Tom with, but it is the general way of saying about persons, animals and things that they have some quality (here ‘tallness’) above average in general sense. The adjective word ‘tall’ is said to be  in the “positive form”.

This comparison is called “positive degree” comparison.

There are two more comparisons with the ‘positive form’ of the adjective words. They are:

(i)  Degree of Equality: This comparison is used to compare two persons, animals or things to tell us that they are equal – having the same quality.

 

There are  two cats with the same height and weight, and look the same except for the colour.

Therefore we say:

The brown cat is as beautiful as the grey cat.  (= Both the cats are the same.)

The word “beautiful” is an adjective in the ‘positive form’, and with the conjunction as…as  it expresses the ‘degree of equality’.

(ii)  Degree of Inequality: This comparison is used to compare two persons, animals or things to tell us that they are not equal – not having the same quality.

The brown cat is not so beautiful as the black & white cat.         (= They are not the same.)

The word “beautiful” is an adjective in the ‘positive form’, and with the conjunction so…as (and the negative ‘not’) it expresses the ‘degree of inequality

2. COMPARATIVE DEGREE:

 

Tom is a tall boy.                   Tom is taller than his sister.                                               

In the second sentence the word ‘taller’ is an adjective used to compare the ‘tallness’ of these two persons – Tom and his sister – and to tell us that Tom has more of the quality of ‘tallness’.

Therefore, an adjective word which shows the difference of quality between twotwo groups of persons, animals or things is said to be in the ‘comparative form’. persons, animals or things, or

This comparison is called “Comparative Degree”.

There are two more degrees of comparison with the ‘comparative form’ of an adjective. They are:

(i)  Parallel Degree: This comparison is used to show that the qualities of two items (adjectives or adverbs) talked about in the given sentence go parallel, i.e. if one quality (adjective or adverb) increases, the other quality (adjective or adverb) increases, and if one quality decreases, the other quality also decreases.

 

The bigger the box, the heavier it is.

(ii)  Progressive Degree: This comparison is used to show that the quality of a thing (adjective or adverb) talked about in the given sentence increases as the time passes, for example:

MON      TUE         WED       THU        FRI          SAT         SUN

 

25° 27° 30° 33° 35° 38° 40°

 

It’s getting hotter and hotter day by day.  [as the time passes the temperature increases] OR The days are getting hotter and hotter.

3. SUPERLATIVE DEGREE:

 

A musk ox is a large animal.         An elephant is larger than a musk ox.

The blue whale is the largest of all animals.

The blue whale is the largest of all animals in the world.

In this sentence the word (the) ‘largest’ is an adjective used to compare the “largeness” of the blue whale and to tell us that the blue whale has the most quality of ‘largeness’.

This comparison is used to compare one person, animal or thing with more than two persons, animals or things (the rest of the group of more than two), and to say that the particular one has the highest degree of that       particular quality (here the comparison is between the blue whale and the rest of the animals, more than two). The adjective ‘large’ is said to be in the ‘superlative form’.

This comparison is called “Superlative Degree”.

For power presentation slides on comparisons, click here on degrees.of.comparison. For continuity, please keep clicking after each feature in each slide.

 

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The next point to be considered is the forms of the adjectives and adverbs.

There are three forms – positive form, comparative form and superlative form – and seven degrees of comparison. That means we make seven degrees of comparison using the three forms of almost every adjective or adverb word.  Therefore, it is important for us to discuss the forms before going any further into this topic.

Most adjective or adverb words in their positive form take ‘er’  to change to comparative and ‘est’ to change to superlative form.  However, the words ending in ‘e’ take only ‘r’ to change to comparative form and only ‘st’ to change to superlative form.  And there are other differences with words having different spelling.

The meaning of an adjective or adverb in Comparative and Superlative form does not change; it is only the form that is changed but not the meaning.

Therefore, depending on the spelling, the adjective or adverb words are separated into groups so that we can memorise the spellings of the words in their different forms easily.

Positive comparative superlative

a)  the words which end in ‘e’ belong to his group and take only ‘r’ in comparative form and ‘st’ in superlative form:

brave — braverthe bravest

large — larger — the largest

wise — wiser — the wisest

b) the words which end in any letter other than ‘e’ and/or ‘y’ belong to this group and take ‘er’ in comparative form and ‘est’ in superlative from:

sweet — sweeterthe sweetest

tall — tallerthe tallest

young — younger the youngest

c) the words which end in ‘y’ preceded by a consonant belong to this group; they lose the last letter ‘y’ and take ‘ier’ in the comparative form and ‘iest’ in superlative form:

happy — happier the happiest

easy — easierthe easiest

heavy — heavier  — the heaviest

 

The words which end in ‘y’ preceded by a vowel, however, do not change their spelling but take ‘r/er’ in

comparative form and ‘st/est’ in superlative form: e.g. gay – gayer – gayest (this word is now considered old-fashioned in the sense of ‘happy; excited’, and in the present day English it is used for male homosexual).

d) the words which end in a ‘consonant’ having a ‘vowel’ before that consonant belong to this group, and have their last consonant letter doubled before taking ‘er’ in comparative form and ‘est’ in superlative form:

red — redder — the  reddest

thin — thinner — the  thinnest

hot – hotter — the  hottest

e) the words which have ‘two or more vowel sounds’ in them belong to this group, and take the word “more” before them in comparative form and the word “ (the) most” in superlative form:

beautiful                                     more beautiful                               the most beautiful

difficult                                       more difficult                                 the most difficult

splendid                                      more splendid                                the most splendid

f) the words in this group do not take any suffix or any other word before them, but change their spelling and pronunciation entirely to form new words with the same meaning, of course:

good/well —  better — the  best

bad/evil/ill — worse — the  worst

little — less/lesser*  — the  least

much — more — the most

many — more — the  most

late — later/latter* — the latest/last*

old — older/elder* – the oldest/eldest*

far  — farther — the  farthest

fore — former — the  foremost/first*

fore —  further  — the  furthest

in — inner  — the  inmost/inner most

up — upper  — the  upmost/uppermost

out — outer/utter — the utmost/utter most

There are some words in the list that take more than one form in comparative and superlative form.

Each of the two words gives a different meaning; therefore, it is best to know them well before going any further in this topic.

 

Late – later, latter; latest, last;   old – elder, older; eldest, oldest

Far – farther, further; farthest, furthest;   near – nearest, next

Later, latter; latest, last

Later and latest refer to time

Latter and last refer to position

e.g.  He is later than I expected.      (he has come late)     I have not heard the latest news.  (recent news)

The latter chapters of the book are interesting.   (order of position)

The last chapter is bad.  (order of position)

[Suppose there are ten chapters in a book, the “latter” chapters could be

Chapters 7,8,9 & 10; the ‘last’ chapter is chapter 10. “latter” is also used

to talk about the second of the two people or things mentioned.]

The word ‘latter’ is, strictly speaking, used for only two persons or things; however, it is also used for three persons or things, as in “the latter of the three”, but in American English.

Elder, older; eldest, oldest

“Elder and eldest” are used only of persons – seniority than age.

(they are used with members of the same family.)

** “Elder” is not used with conjunction ‘than’.

“Older and oldest” are used of both persons and things – time (age)

e.g. John is my elder brother.   Ahmed is his eldest son. (family relation — seniority)

Tom is older than his sister. (of people — family relation — age)

Sarah is the oldest girl in the class.       (of people — no family relation – age)

Town Hall is the oldest building in our town.  (of things – age)

“Tom is older than his sister.”  so “Tom is her elder brother.”  and “She is his younger sister.”

There are, however, some occasions where “older and oldest” are used for showing the seniority of members of the same family.  Here we have a good example:

“Is Aunt Dee your oldest sister, Dad?”       (family relation – seniority – but “oldest” is used) Taken from ‘BASIC SKILLS IN ENGLISH’ Book 6, by The Editorial Staff of Mc Dougal, Littell and Company, USA

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[According to the traditional grammar rule, we are supposed to use the definite article 'the' before the superlative form of an adjective.  However, here we have a classic example showing the article 'a' before the superlative form of an adjective by Moshe Riess:

BIRTH AND GROWTH IN EGYPT
The first we hear of Moses is that a man of the tribe of Levi marries a woman of the same tribe. This may the only time that the Torah mention that both parents are of the same tribe. In this to emphasis that despite Moses growing up as an Egyptian he is a Hebrew? They have a son. 1From this it would appear that Moses is a firstborn, but he has an older brother Aaron and an older sister Miriam. Thus Moses appears to be an oldest and a youngest. The Midrash has a different explanation. In Egypt a prophecy ...]

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Less/lesser

These two words are the comparative forms of the word ‘little’.

The difference is: “less” suggests ‘amount’, and “lesser” suggests degree showing

some ‘negative’ sense in a choice of two!

For example,

She has less money than he (has).

Which is the lesser of the two evils, drinking or smoking?

[Both ‘drinking alcohol’ and ‘smoking tobacco’ are evils, but we’d like to compare and decide which one is more harmful – ‘more negative’  -- in this choice of two!]

Though there is a debate in the educated circles as to when and where to use which word, “less or lesser”, the learners at this basic level need not worry much about this pair, but keep an eye on these words and note down the examples whenever they come across these words.

Foremost/first

These two words are synonyms, i.e. either word can be used.  However, there is some difference in their usage.

“Foremost” means ‘the best or the most important; in a top or leading position

in a group of people or things’; for example,

Gerald Durrell is one of the foremost authorities on animal protection plans.

Gerald Durrell is the first person to start a Trust (zoo) to protect the endangered species of animals from around the world

Inmost/innermost ; upmost/uppermost; utmost/utter most

These pairs of words are synonyms.  There are sentences where both these words are used for the same context.  Learners at this basic level need not worry about these pairs right now.

 

[Visit “WORDS OFTEN CONFUSED” under VOCABULARY for more sets of words that usually confuse us.]

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Now let’s discuss each Degree in some detail:

The positive degree of an adjective or adverb is in its simple form.  It is used to denote or say the mere existence of some quality of what we speak about.  It is used when no comparison is made, but just to point out that the quality is above average.  [see figure 1]   ‘Tom is a tall boy.’ Here we have only one person and one quality; and Tom’s quality of being tall is above average.

The comparative degree of an adjective or adverb denotes more degree of the quality than the positive degree, and is used when two persons, animals or things, or two sets/groups of persons, animals or things are compared with one another. [see figure 4]  ‘Tom is taller than his sister.’  Here we have two persons – Tom and his sister – and the comparison is made to show that one is more in the quality of being tall than the other. The word ‘than’ is the conjunction we must use in the comparative degree.  In fact the example sentence in full is: Tom is taller than his sister is tall.  The predicate part in the subordinate clause (is tall) is normally not mentioned but understood.  Please see item (f) under “ Some Extraordinary Rules”.

The superlative degree of an adjective or adverb denotes the most degree of the quality, and is used for more than two persons, animals or things — one against the rest — one having the highest degree of the quality in/of the rest.  The Definite Article ‘the’ is used before the adjective word in its superlative form, and the preposition ‘of’ is used with people, animals and things and ‘in’ or ‘under’ with places and position.  [see figure 7]  ‘The blue whale is the largest of all the animals in the world.’  Here we have the blue whale and the rest of the animals, and the blue whale has the quality of being large in the highest degree (above all others) – the supreme.

The Definite Article ‘the’ is not used with the superlative form “most” when it is used to mean very, and when it is used to indicate the possession of a quality in a very high degree but without any comparison:  ‘This is most unfortunate.’  ‘A most ingenious idea!’ Note that it is not the definite article ‘the’ that is always used before the superlative form of an adjective or adverb.  The demonstrative adjective or the possessive adjective is also used depending on the context!  e.g. Our football player is in his best form this season.

The degree of equality of an adjective or adverb is used when two things are compared with a quality to show that they both have the same degree of that quality.  It is almost like saying that they both are the same.  [see figure 2]   The positive form of the adjective or adverb word is used with the conjunction “as…as”.  For example: This building is as tall as the next one.  In other words “The two buildings are the same in height.”

The degree of inequality of an adjective or adverb is to show that two persons, animals or things are not the same in having a quality.  [see figure 3]  The positive form of the adjective or adverb word is used with the conjunction “so…as”.   For example, The male dancer is not so graceful as the female dancer.  They are not the same in being graceful.  This comparison is almost the same as the Comparative Degree:  ‘The female dancer is more graceful than the male dancer.’ Or ‘The male dancer is less graceful than the female dancer.’

The conjunction in the Degree of equality is “as…as”, but in the Degree of inequality the conjunction used is so…as”.  In spoken English the conjunction “as…as” is accepted even in the Degree of Inequality; in written or formal British English, however, only so…as” is accepted.  Not everyone accepts or follows this rule!

The parallel degree is a comparison having two adjectives or adverbs – one dependent on the other which means when one activity with one adjective or adverb increases or decreases the other activity with another adjective or adverb also increases or decreases.  [see figure 5]   For example,  The higher you climb, the more difficult you will feel. Here we have two adjectives – high and difficult, and when the height of a hill (or a ramp) increases, the difficulty in climbing also increases, and when the height decreases, the difficulty also decreases.

The comparative form of the adjectives or adverbs is used in this comparison, and the most important point to remember is that the article “the” is used before the comparative form of the adjective or adverb words – the higher’ and ‘the more difficult’.   {In the comparative degree, the comparative form of and adjective or adverb is not used with any article! For example, ‘This hill is higher than that hill.’ you notice that the article ‘the’ is not used before ‘higher’.}

So, what we understand from these examples is that in Comparative Degree the ‘comparative form’ of an adjective or adverb word is not used with any article in the Parallel Degree, however, we should use the article ‘the’ before the  ‘comparative form’ of the adjective or adverb word!

Some dictionaries categorise the article ‘the’ in this parallel degree comparison as an adverb; some others say this use of article ‘the’ before a word in its comparative form is idiomatic (an idiom), and yet some other dictionaries accept this as comparative degree!

The progressive degree of an adjective or adverb is used to show that some quality is on the increase or decrease as the time or some other course of action passes.  [see figure 6]  The comparative form of the word is repeated, using the conjunction ‘and’, without any article.

‘The patient is getting weaker and weaker day by day.

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SOME EXTRAORDINARY RULES

There are some exceptions to some of the rules we have already discussed, and it is necessary for any learner to know them and apply them whenever they are needed.

*In case you find the following rules difficult to understand right now, please leave them out for the time being and proceed to the other items and try to understand them, and once the other points in those items are clearly understood, then you can come back to these rules to revise them one by one.

 

1. The comparative form with ‘r’ or ‘er’ in Comparative Degree is not used when we compare two qualities in the same person, animal or thing:

e.g.  Mr. George is more fast than skillful.

GeorgeOne player; two qualities – ‘fast’ & ‘skillful’ —  ‘fast’ being more

In the example above, we have only one person, Mr. George, and two qualities – ‘fast’ and ‘skillful’ – in him; and we are comparing those two qualities to say that he has one quality more than the other – ‘fast’ being more than ‘skillful’.  So in such cases we do not use the original comparative form with ‘r’ or ‘er’ though the adjective has the form, but use “more” before the word in its positive form. That is to say the adjective word ‘fast’ has “faster” for its comparative form, but we have not used it here because we are not comparing Mr. George with anybody else, but are comparing the two qualities Mr. George has in him!

Mr. George runs faster than Mr. David.

two players – George & David — one quality – fast — George has more – faster

In this sentence Mr. George is compared with another person called Mr. David,

and the quality being only one ‘fast’, it is used in its comparative form ‘faster’.

 

Here is a classic example from the book “The Rare Birds of Southern Africa” by Dr. Phillip Alexander Clancy, published by Winchester Press Ltd., 1985:

‘Due to its secretive habits, (the bird is) generally considered more rare than it is.’

2. When two persons, animals or things of the same group or kind are compared with

each other, the latter (i.e. the second of the two) of the comparison must exclude the former (i.e. the first of the two):

e.g.  Iron is more useful than any other metal.  {Remember ‘iron’ is a metal.}

The phrase “any other” shows that the metal ‘iron’ is separated from the other metals in this context.  Suppose the expression is put in this way:

“Iron is more useful than any metal.” [without the word ‘other’], it will be the same as saying:  ‘Iron is more useful than iron.’ which is meaningless because iron is  itself a metal!

Compare:

 

Mary is cleverer than any boy in the class.   [without ‘other’]

This expression (sentence) is accepted because “Mary” is a girl and she is compared with boys who are not her (gender) kind or group.

Mary is cleverer than any girl in the class. (wrong)

This expression (sentence) is not accepted because “Mary” is a girl and she is compared with her own kind or group.

Therefore, this expression should be: Mary is cleverer than any other girl in the class.

3. With the superlative form of the adjective or adverb in the Superlative Degree,

the article ‘the’ must be used before the form with almost all the adjectives and adverbs.

There are, however, a couple of words which do not take the article ‘the’ before them in some special expressions.  One word ‘most’ has already been mentioned in the explanation for the Superlative Degree; the other one is “best” which needs to be dealt with separately.

For example, in the expression “with best wishes” we do not use the article ‘the’ before “best”. So it is advisable to refer to a dictionary to learn about ‘best’ and ‘most’ in detail.

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As rule number 4 is related to the PERSONAL PRONOUNS, we need to revise this topic thoroughly.  Please go to the topic “Personal Pronouns”.

However, the following table and the short description below it may help us to take a quick look at the PERSONAL PRONOUNS:

Person =

1st person – the person speaking or narrating something

2nd person – the person spoken to (the person listening to the speaker)

3rd person – the rest of all the persons, animals and things that are talked about excluding the 1st and the 2nd persons

 

Number =  singular – only one person, animal or thing;  plural – more than one person, animal or thing (two, ten, a hundred, a million, etc.)

 

Gender = {masculine gender & feminine gender} (the sex of the person or animal) male or female = boy or girl, man or woman

neuter – very young babies of people; all the animals when spoken in general and all the things; not    man, not woman

common gender – either man or woman; for example, A teacher is a person who teaches.  “A teacher” can be a man or a woman, so it is ‘common gender’.

 

CASE:

nominative case = person, animal or thing that comes before the verb and does an action in a sentence

e.g.  He is a good boy.     [‘He’ is the subject in this sentence.]

objective case = person, animal or thing that comes after the verb or preposition in a sentence

e.g.  He gave her a book.     [‘Her’ is the object of the verb ‘gave’.]

He gave a book to her. [‘Her’ is the object of the preposition ‘to’]

 

possessive case = used to show that something belongs somebody or something

e.g.  This is my book.       [‘My’ and ‘mine’ show that the book belongs to me.]

This book is mine.

‘My’, ‘our’, ‘your’, ‘your’, ‘his’, ‘her’, ‘its’, ‘their’, ‘their’ and ‘their’ are called POSSESSIVE  ADJECTIVES because they are always used before nouns.

“Mine”, “ours”, “yours”, “yours”, “his”, “hers”, “its”, “theirs”, “theirs”, and “theirs” are called POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS because they are used without nouns after them; the nouns whose possession they show are placed somewhere else in the sentence (expression).

Reflexive pronouns = the action of a subject in the sentence comes back to the doer of the action when we use these Reflexive pronouns {They are also called reciprocal pronouns, but the function is different.}

e.g.  I painted this picture myself.

[‘Myself’ in this sentence shows that the subject ‘I’ did the action of painting the picture, not bought or get somebody paint it for ‘me’. The action does not pass to any other object but comes back to the subject]

They taught themselves.

[‘Themselves’ in this sentence shows that the subject ‘they’ did not get their education from any teacher or they did not teach anybody else, but got their education on their own.]

 

4. Nominative (subjective) Case or Accusative (objective) Case or Possessive (genitive) Case?

There is a chance of our getting confused when using personal pronouns after ‘than’ in comparative degree because the personal pronouns take different forms in different cases.  For instance, the First Person Personal Pronoun in the Nominative Case is ‘I’, the same pronoun word in the Objective case (Accusative Case) is ‘me’ and again in the Genitive Case it is ‘my/mine’.  Therefore, while using them after the conjunction ‘than’ in the comparative degree, we are bound to make some mistakes in placing the case of the pronoun in its right form.

The following rules may clear some of the confusion:

a) When we compare two persons with one adjective or adverb in Comparative Degree, the PRONOUN used after ‘than’ must be in Nominative Case (subjective case). This is considered formal English.

e.g.  He speaks more fluently than I.  [‘I’ is the nominative case]

= He speaks more fluently than I speak.

In this sentence “He speaks more fluently than me speak.” sounds silly.

[‘me’ is the Objective Case of the pronoun ‘I’]

Nevertheless, the Objective Case form of the pronoun is also used by many people, including some grammarians.

This is considered informal or spoken English.  For example:  He is taller than me.

The famous grammarian, John Silverlight, accepted the use of Objective Case of the Pronoun when the context demands a nominative case form in his book “More Words” (page 123) quoting a letter from Mr. Gideon Cohen Jerusalem, himself a famous person.

 

Therefore, we can say:   She has more money than he.  [‘he’ in nominative case form]

She has more money than he has. Or *She has more money than him.   [‘him’ in objective case form]

{Sentences of this type are not very clear; there is bound to be some confusion}

b) But the objective case form is the only form to be used in cases like this one:

Peter likes his books more than her.   [here ‘her’ could be a girl he knows]

Explanation:

Peter likes his books — 80%

Peter likes her            — 20% only

This sentence, if written in full is:  Peter likes his books better than he (Peter) likes her.

Therefore, in this expression only the objective case ‘her’ should be used.

Let’s analyse another sentence:

James talked more about drinks than them.  [here ‘them’ could be his friends or associates]

them’ is the objective case of pronoun ‘they’

James talked about drinks — 80%

James talked about them — 20% only

James talked about drinks more than they.   [more than they talked about drinks]

‘they’ is the nominative case form

James talked about drinks — 80%

They talked about drinks   — 20% only

{Therefore, it is to be understood that the case of the pronoun in Comparatives changes the meaning of the sentence.}

c) When the former (the first of the two persons, animals or things) in Comparative Degree is in the POSSESSIVE CASE,

the latter (the second of the two persons, animals or things) must be in the possessive case:

For example,

1. Abe’s book is more expensive than Jessica.    [wrong]

[“Abe’s” is in the possessive case, but ‘Jessica’ is not in possessive case]

Therefore, this sentence should be…

Abe’s book is more expensive than Jessica’s (book).

2. His car is bigger than them.  [wrong]

[‘His car’ is in possessive case, but ‘them’ is in objective case]

Therefore, this sentence should be…

His car is bigger than their car.  OR   His car is bigger than theirs.

d) When comparisons of actions are made with GERUND or TO-INFINITIVE,

the NON-FINITE form must be used in both the clauses of the sentence:

For example:

1. Riding a horse is not so easy as a motor bike.  [wrong]

(‘riding’ Gerundial form of the  verb ‘ride’; in the second part –no gerundial form

Therefore, this sentence should be…

Riding a horse is not so easy as riding a motor bike.

2. It is nicer to go out with someone than alone.   [wrong]

(‘to go’ “to-infinitive” form  of the verb ‘go’ ; in the second part — no “to-infinitive” form

Therefore, this sentence should be…

It is nicer to go out with someone than to go out alone.

e) Use of the definite article ‘the’ + comparative form:

(apart from the PARALLEL COMPARISON)

When we want to know which one of the two persons, animals or things is more or less in the quality talked about, we use the ‘the’ with the comparative form of the adjective or adverb:

For example,

Which one of these two girls is the stronger?

However, this use of the comparative form is considered rather literary or very formal. And in informal or spoken English a superlative form is often used instead:the strongest? Which of these two girls is

f) Certain comparatives taken from Latin language have no positive or superlative degree.

They all end in “or” but not in “er”.  They are twelve in all.

Five of them lost their comparative meaning, and are used as positive forms.

They are: exterior, interior, ulterior, major & minor

e.g. The exterior wall of the house is made of stone; the interior walls are of wood.

Her age is a matter of minor importance.

I have no ulterior motive in offering you my help.

The other seven are used as comparative forms but are followed by “to” instead of ‘than’.

They are: Inferior,  superior,  prior,  anterior,  posterior,  senior &  junior

e.g. A horse is inferior to Lilly in intelligence.

Lilly’s intelligence is superior to a horse’s.

He is junior to all his colleagues.

All his colleagues are senior to him.

g) Adjective words such as square, round, perfect, eternal, universal, and unique cannot be compared; but we often use them in comparatives, for example:

e.g. This is the most perfect specimen I have seen.  [used to show excitement]

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Interchange of Degree of Comparison sentences:

 

1. Lead is the heaviest of all metals.   [superlative degree{‘lead’ is pronounced as “led”}

Lead is heavier than all other metals.

or

Lead is heavier than any other metal.   [comparative degree]

No other metal is so heavy as lead.   [positive degree – degree of inequality]

2. New York is one of the biggest of American cities.   [superlative degree]

New York is bigger than most other American cities.  [comparative degree]

Very few American cities are so/as big as New York.   [positive degree – inequality]

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About the Author:BC Kumar

BC Kumar, an English Language Teacher, taught in numerous countries including Ethiopia, Oman and India, shares his knowledge and passion for the English Language. Disclaimer: This is a free educational website and all content has been compiled by the author. All copyrights to images and videos belong to their respective owners.

2 Responses to The Degrees of Comparison

  1. is these the true answer????? :(

  2. 1 onlyy my answers :(