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Formation



There are several ways of showing that similarities or differences exist between or amongst things. The regular comparative and superlative of descriptive words, whether these are adjectives or adverbs, is formed as follows:

1. by adding the ending -erand -estto words of one syllable Examples

 

 

Adjectives ABSOLUTE COMPARATIVE SUPERLATIVE
new old big newer older bigger newest oldest biggest
Adverbs soon late sooner later soonest latest

2. by placing the words moreand mostin front of words with three or more syllables

Examples

 

 

Adjectives ABSOLUTE COMPARATIVE SUPERLATIVE
interesting convenient beautiful more interesting more convenient more beautiful most interesting most convenient most beautiful
Adverbs easily carefully more easily more carefully most easily most carefully

3. words with two syllables may be like 1 or 2 above in that they will add the ending -erand -estif they end in -y or -ly, -ow, -leand -er. Most of the remaining words take moreand mostin front of them.

Example

 

 

-y ABSOLUTE COMPARATIVE SUPERLATIVE
happy funny happier funnier happiest funniest
-ly early friendly earlier friendlier earliest friendliest
-ow shallow narrow shallower narrower shallowest narrowest
-le able gentle abler gentler ablest gentlest
-er clever cleverer cleverest

N.B. Two-syllable adverbs ending in -ly take moreor most

Example

quickly more quickly most quickly

slowly more slowly most slowly

badly more badly most badly


 

ABSOLUTE COMPARATIVE SUPERLATIVE
polite politer more polite politest most polite
quiet quieter more quiet quietest most quiet

5. There are a small number of adjectives and adverbs that form the comparative and superlative using a different stem. These irregular comparisons are as follows:

Example

 

 

Adjectives ABSOLUTE COMPARATIVE SUPERLATIVE
bad far good many worse further/farther better more worst furthest/farthest best most
Adverbs badly far little much well worse further/farther less more better worst furthest/farthest least most best

 


Example

 

  ABSOLUTE COMPARATIVE SUPERLATIVE
Remaining careful more careful most careful
descriptive two- careless more careless most careless
syllable words boring more boring most boring
  awful more awful most awful
  complex more complex most complex

Use in sentences

There are many reasons for using comparisons in discourse. They may be used to show: a. equivalence; b. non-equivalence; c. one item compared with others; and d. parallel increase.




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