Some examples of Positive, Comparative and Superlative Degrees of Comparison.
Positive Comparative Superlative
Good Better Best
Hot Hotter Hottest
Sharp Sharper Sharpest
Tall Taller Tallest
Short Shorter Shortest
Large Larger Largest
Small Smaller Smallest
Dry More dry (drier) Most dry (driest)
Cold More cold (colder) Most cold (coldest)
Proud More proud (prouder) Most proud (proudest)
High Higher Highest
Legible More legible Most legible
Great Greater Greatest
Cut Cut Cut
Put Put Put
Useful More useful Most useful
Ferocious More ferocious Most ferocious
Nutritive More nutritive Most nutritive
Pretty More pretty (prettier) Most pretty (Prettiest)
We should remember that we have two things to compare in Comparative degrees. We can say one is better than the other.
In cases, when we have to make comparison between more than two Persons / Objects, we have to say one or one group is better or worse than the other.
Ex: A, B, C and D are compared.
A is taller than B
B is taller than C
D is of the same height of C
B is taller than C and D, but, shorter than A.
Changing the Degrees of Comparison
- POSITIVE Degree occurs when we make a statement or a matter of fact without comparison.
- COMPARITIVE Degree occurs when we compare two things / place / persons.
- SUPERLATIVE Degree occurs when more than two things / place / persons are involved. Remember, beyond Superlative there is nothing more to be compared. If only two persons / places need to be compared, then one can use the Superlative.
- When forming comparative degree, normally add
a) ‘er’ to positive
Ex: tall – taller sharp – sharper
old – older short – shorter
young – younger long – longer
large – larger high – higher
b) for superlative, add ‘est’ to positive.
tall – taller – tallest sharp – sharper – sharpest
old – older – oldest short – shorter – shortest
young – younger – youngest long – longer – longest
large – larger – largest high – higher – highest
c) for word ending with ‘ y ’ remove ‘ y ‘ from positive and add ‘ier’ for comparative and ‘iest’ for superlative.
heavy – heavier – heaviest lucky – luckier – luckiest
pretty – prettier – prettiest dirty – dirtier – dirtiest
merry – merrier – merriest dirty – more dirty – most dirty
The Adjectives which have two syllables, will have ‘more’ for comparative and ‘most’ for superlative.
Ex: beautiful – more beautiful – most beautiful
honest – more honest – most honest
popular – more popular – most popular
reliable – more reliable – most reliable
pretty – more pretty (prettier) – most pretty
Some form themselves into comparative and superlative in an irregular pattern.
Positive Comparative Superlative
good / well better best
bad / ill worse worst
high higher highest
little less least
much / many more most
far farther farthest
fore former foremost / first
You will become familiar with more words to use in Degrees of comparison by reading.
For changing from one degree to another.
From Positive to Comparative.
a) Find out the comparative form of positive and place it in the place of positive adjective and follow it with ‘than’ or ‘to’ and follow it with the object.
Rama is elder (comparative) to Lakshmanan
To change into superlative, you should make sure or ensure that all the persons / places / things compared are taken into account. In superlative, you should leave nothing out of comparison.
In the above example, in comparative, we have taken only two persons ; Rama and Lakshmanan
If we are certain that we have to make a statement involving Rama and Lakshmanan to indicate who is elder of the two, comparative degree will do. But, if we have more than two people, if we say, ‘Rama is elder to Lakshmanan’, when two others namely, Bharata and Shatrugana are involved, if we say Rama is elder to Lakshmana, we will not know if Bharata or Shatrugana is elder to Rama. So, if we say, Rama is the eldest of four brothers, we have taken into account Bharata and Shatrugana. We get the clear picture that Rama is the eldest of the four.
Let us see another example for changing from one degree to another.
The meaning is that there is no other city in Tamil Nadu which is older than Madurai. So, to convert the above into superlative and convey the same meaning, we should say ‘Madurai is older than any other city in Tamil nadu’. We can also express the same in another way.
No other city in Tamil Nadu is older than Madurai.
However, the emphasis we want to give on Madurai is slightly different or varied. This, we shall discuss later.
Shakespeare is greater than any other English poet. (Comparative)
Shakespeare is the greatest of English Poets (superlative).
As a rule, make sure the meaning in various degrees remain the same, instead of blindly following hints. In fact, while dealing with grammar, we should pay more attention to the meaning conveyed, whatever be the circumstances.
Change the degree of comparison without changing the meaning.
1) The pen is mightier than the sword.
2) Cow is more useful than any other animal.
3) Mount Everest is the highest peak in the World.
4) Mariana Trench is the deepest point in the ocean
5) It is better to have loved and lost than to have not loved at all.
6) Mango is sweeter than Lime.
7) Very few Nations are as materialistic as the USA.
8) Samudra Gupta was greater than any other King in India.
9) No other orator was more powerful as Demosthenes.
10) I have more books than you.
ADJECTIVES USED AS NOUNS
‘The rich do not know the condition of the poor’
The adjectives are ‘rich’ and ‘poor’.
What do we mean by these adjectives?
Rich – people who are rich or rich people.
Poor – people who are poor or poor people.
The nouns ‘People’ are not stated openly. They are implied or hidden behind the adjectives. So, when we say rich or poor in the above sentences, we mean rich (adjective) people (noun – collective noun), do not to know the sufferings of the poor (adjective) people (noun – collective noun). In practice, we use rich and poor. Hence, adjective is used as Plural Nouns.
The future is happy. Here, future means futurity. It is an Abstract Noun. In such cases, the adjective (future) becomes Noun. It is in Singular.
Some other adjectives derived from Proper Nouns become adjectives. They may relate to proper ethnicity – Indians, Americans, Tamilians.
Some adjectives indicating persons also become Nouns. They may belong to particular profession or an activity that is common to all of them – juniors, seniors, Criminals.
Yet some other adjectives denoting quantity / things in general become Nouns. It can be both in Singular and Plural.
- Secrets, total, solids, liquids, gases, valuables.
Some adjectives like sweet are used as Nouns in Plural and not in Singular. We can say sweets, it, that is, in a many eatables that are sweet.
Some phrases also become Nouns whenever this make appear into the sentence below the proceeding one. In short, Before long, Ere long, At Best, At the very least, in black and white.
In general, to identify an adjective functioning as a Noun, look for Plural Nouns, Singular Nouns of quality, derivatives of Nouns (means Adjectives formed of Noun). Or some phrases that indicate Nouns implicitly.
Also, ‘the’ appears before Adjective functioning as Noun (in general).
Remember the above guidelines are only indicative. Best way is to look for the meaning. i.e. what we speak about Persons / Places / Things and what we add to give more meaning to the forms and decide if the Noun is implied.
Sometimes we use Noun as adjectives as well.
I am a city boy.
He always plays computer games.
Adjective is normally placed before the Noun.
He is a great man.
In poetry, the adjective may appear after the Noun – ‘Men’, of great valour never die more than once’.
We place adjectives after Noun in Prose also, when we have more than one adjective to emphasis.
Lord Krishna was a great King, Philosopher and Leader.
He was a kind man, patient, forbearing and of compassion.
We also place adjectives after a Noun when we join some words or phrases to adjectives. This is to place emphasis.
MS Dhoni is fertile in imaginative tactics..
In some cases, in some phrases, Adjectives come after the Noun.
God Almighty, time immemorial.
In some instances, the adjectives are more of explanatory in nature or indicate a specific quality which we want to emphasis.
- Kinds Of Nouns, Know Your English (ramanan50.wordpress.com)