Comparison of Adjectives or Degrees of Comparison,English Grammar.
Whenever we make a statement, we use to compare things to convey the meaning. Ex: He is tall. When we say this, we do not know exactly how tall he is, unless we say, he is 6’ 2” or 5’ 8”. This is specific. This becomes a statement of fact and the information we receive is full. Further, without mentioning exact height, different people have different view of the word. ‘tall’ – For one who is 4’ 8”, ‘ tall’ may mean 5 ft. For one who is 6’ in height 5’ is short. To get a proper idea, we use to compare two or more people or things to get a proper idea. This process helps to convey the ideal better to a group consisting of different ideas of the same adjective. Infact, it is very difficult to make statement without comparison. In Philosophy, making statements without reference to other things is called ABSOLUTE Statement and it is Abstract and difficult to understand. But, comparative statements called Relative statements are easy to understand.
Therefore, to convey the thought clearly, we use Comparison. Let us see how comparisons are made.
1. We make statement about a Person / Place / Thing as a matter of fact or as it appears. We make a positive statement. These statements are said to be in the Positive Degree.
‘This mango is sweet’.
Here, we speak of a mango and its quality of sweetness without indicating how sweet it is. There is no point of reference.
2. The other type of statement is when we compare tow things to
indicate which is better than the other.
‘This mango is sweeter than that mango’.
Here, we have the mangoes and we compare the sweetness of one against another to convey that ‘ this’ mango is sweeter than ‘that’ mango. Now, we get a clear picture and we normally will choose the sweeter mango.
A statement that compares two things is said to be Comparative Degree.
3. And finally, when we have more than two things to convey a
thought, that one among the many is the superior among them, we give a different type of statement. It helps us to choose the best among the many things. If we have three mangoes, how do we say which is the best in terms of taste?
When more than three things (two) are present, if we say ‘This is sweeter, we will find it difficult to understand s to which of the remaining two is ‘sweeter’. Therefore, we use ‘Superlative’.
When more than two Persons / Places/ Things are to be compared, we use a form of statement, that points out which is the best or superior to other Persons / Places / Things. These types of statements are said to be in ‘Superlative Degree’.
E.g.: This is the sweetest mango.
Therefore, there are three types of comparison.
Positive – When we make an absolute or matter of fact statement.
Comparative – When we make a comparison between two Persons /
Superlative – When we make a statement, when more than two Persons / Places / Things are involved. (The number of things involved can be 100 or 1,000: Superlative can be only one – There can be only one First Rank Holder).
How to form Comparative and Superlative?
For adjectives with one and for some more than one, for comparative add – ‘err’ and ‘est’ for superlative.
Positive Comparative Superlative
Strong Stronger Strongest
Great Greater Greatest
Tall Taller Tallest
When Positive end with ‘e’, add ‘r’ and ‘est’.
Able Abler Ablest
Fine Finer Finest
Wise Wiser Wisest
When Positive is a word of one syllable and ends in a single consonant, preceded by a short vowel, the consonant is doubled before adding ‘er’ or ‘est’.
Big Bigger Biggest
Sad Sadder Saddest
Thin Thinner Thinnest
When a Positive ends in ‘Y’ preceded by a consonant, the ‘Y’ is changed into ‘i’ before adding ‘er’ and ‘est’.
Healthy Healthier Healthiest
Easy Easier Easiest
Merry Merrier Merriest
Adjectives that contain more than two syllables form comparative and Superlative by adding more and most before the word.
Positive Comparative Superlative
Difficult more difficult most difficult
Beautiful more beautiful most beautiful
Courageous more courageous most courageous
We do not use ‘er’ when we compare the qualities of the same Person / Place/ Thing.
Lord Krishna is more of a Philosopher than a King.
Rama is more brave than prudent.
We have seen how Comparative and Superlative are formed from the Positive. These are called comparison.
But, there are comparisons that can be made without referring to i.e. totally different from Positive. This is called irregular comparison
In this, the Comparative and Superlative are not derived from Positive and they are completely different from the Positive.
Positive Comparative Superlative
Good / Well Better Best
Bad / Evil / Ill Worse Worst
Little Less / Lesser Least
Much More Most
Much More Most (quantity)
Many More Most (Number)
Late Later / laster Latest / last
Old Older / Elder Oldest / Eldest
Far Farther Farthest
Fore Fore more Fore most
In Inner Inner most / in most
Up Upper Uppermost / Up most
Out Outer Outermost
Some of the Comparatives shown above end in Superlatives are used to indicate different meanings.
Later, Latter, Latest, Last
Later and Latest refer to time
Latter and Last refer to position
When we want to indicate time, we use later and latest – E.g.: I shall see you later.
(Here ‘Later’ means we will see after sometime).
Have you heard the latest news?
(Latest means the nearest time in new / fresh).
When we want to indicate position as in time or in the order of occurrence in position we use ‘Latter’ and ‘Last’.
Later portions of Physics are difficult to understand.
(Latter means that come ‘after’ in position).
My house is the last in the street.
(Last indicates position where the house is located).
Elder, Older, Eldest, Oldest
These are used only when speaking about persons and not of animals or things (Elder / eldest).
When we use ‘Elder’, we do not use ‘than’.
We can use older / oldest for persons, animals and things.
Rama is the elder brother.
Anand is my eldest son.
Rama is older than Lakshmanan.
My grandfather is the eldest of our family.
The oldest Church in India is in KOZHIKODE.
Farther and Further indicate distance
Farther means fairly distant.
Further means additional.
Antarctic is Farther from Indian than Arctic.
Please reply to m y letter without further delay.
Nearest means very near / within shortest distance.
Next means immediately after.
Rameswaram is nearest to Srilanka.
My house is next to the Telephone Exchange.
Fill in with ‘later’ or ‘latter’, older or elder, oldest, eldest, farther
further, next or neat.
1. The child cannot walk very ……………
2. For information, contact the Principal
3. The news about inflation is worrisome
4. Today is the last day for applying for this job.
5. This is thebus stop to my house.
6. Thewill be very interesting
7. Rama was the of four brothers.
8. I have a sister.
10. The scene was boring.
11. The majority accepted the proposal.
12. The nephew is than the uncle.
Some Comparatives are used in Positive.
His inner meaning is unclear.
The programmed was an utter flop.
(Some of the words – Former, latter, elder, thunder, upper, inner, outer, utter).
While using these words, ‘than’ should not be used).
Comparative borrowed from Latin have no Positive or Superlative Degree.
Interior, Exterior, Ulterior, Magic, Mirror
His actions are of minor importance.
The exterior wall of the house is painted with weather-proof paint.
Do not seek ulterior motive for every action.
Normally, we use ‘than’ in Comparative.
But, Comparative ending in – ‘or’, ‘are’ followed by the preposition do not have than.
Western family values are inferior to Indian values.
Adjective expressing qualities that do not admit of different degrees cannot be compared.
Round, Square, Perfect, Volume etc., …………..
Sometimes to express strong feelings we use Superlative as in :
He is the most Perfect Person in the World.
- KINDS OF ADJECTIVES. English Grammar. (ramanan50.wordpress.com)