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ERRORS IN THE USE OF ADJECTIVES
What is an Adjective?
An adjective is a word that qualifies a noun or a pronoun, e.g. a beautiful flower, a hot day, the best boy, etc.
Points to be kept in mind in the use of adjectives:
- Beautiful is used for woman; handsome for man. e.g. He is a handsome youth. She is a beautiful girl.
- Less refers to quantity, fewer denotes number. e.g. He takes no less than a litre of milk. They have fewer books than I have.
- Last is the final one; Latest is last up to the present. e.g. Z is the last letter of the alphabet. This is the latest edition of the book.
- Each is used for one of two or more things, each is used for more than two things, taken as a group. e.g. Each of the two boys was wrong. He read every book I gave him.
- Older refers to persons or things. e.g. This tree is older than that. Elder refers to persons only. e.g. He is my elder brother.
- Little means ‘not much’. A little means ‘at least some’. e.g. He slept little. He slept a little.
- Farther means ‘more distant’. Further means ‘additional’ e.g. Bombay is farther than Delhi. I shall get further information.
- Latter means the second of two things. Keats and Byron are romantic poets, but I prefer the latter. Later refers to time. She came to school later than me.
Rule 1: Generally an adjective is placed before the noun it qualifies, for example, an intelligent girl, a large house, a good boy.
- Sometimes, an adjective is placed after a noun when it is enlarged by some qualifying phrase or clause: This is a room big enough for our use.
- When several adjectives are attached to a noun: There lived a man, pious, intelligent and kind.
- When an adjective has used the title of a great man: Napolean, the great.
- In a few well-known phrases: heir apparent; time immemorial; God Almighty, court-martial, etc.
Wrong: This book is enough good for me.
Right: This book is good enough for me.
Wrong: The Great Akbar was a Mughal king.
Right: Akbar, the Great was a Mughal king.
Rule 2: Adjectives like a junior, senior, inferior, superior, etc. are followed by ‘to’ not ‘than’:
Wrong: Mohan is junior to Sohan.
Right: Mohan is junior to Sohan.
Wrong: Your coat is inferior to my coat.
Right: Your coat is inferior to my coat.
Rule 3: Use comparative degree for two and superlative degree for more than two:
Wrong: This is the best book of the two.
Right: This is a better book of the two.
Wrong: He is the more intelligent boy in the class.
Right: He is the most intelligent boy in the class.
Rule 4: There is no comparative or superlative degree of the following adjectives as they possess qualities to the utmost possible extent: unique, eternal, triangular, weekly, monthly, ideal, entire, etc.
Wrong: This is a more complete picture of the situation.
Right: This is a complete picture of the situation.
Wrong: He is the most unique person.
Right: He is a unique person.
Rule 5: ‘Little’ and ‘few’ have a negative meaning and mean ‘almost nothing’. ‘A little’ and ‘a few’ have a positive meaning and mean ‘some’. ‘Little’ is used for quantity and `few’ is used for number:
Wrong: There was little water in the pitcher so I drank it.
Right: There was a little water in the pitcher so I drank it.
Wrong: There were a few boys in the class, so the teacher went away.
Right: There were few boys in the class, so the teacher went away.
Rule 6: The adjectives ending in —ior (prior, junior, senior, superior, inferior, posterior) take ‘to’ and not ‘than’ after them.
- He is senior to me.
- This book is superior to that book.
Rule 7: Some adjectives like unique, ideal, perfect, extreme, complete, universal, infinite, perpetual, chief, entire, round, impossible are not compared.
Wrong: It is the most unique book.
Right:- It is a unique book
Rule 8: Comparative degree is comparing two things or persons. e.g. It is the better of the two books. The superlative degree is used in comparing more than two things or persons.
- He is the best of the three boys.
Rule 9: Double comparatives and double superlatives must not be used.
Wrong: He is wiser than his brother.
Right: He is wiser than his brother.
Rule 10: When we compare two qualities in the same person or thing, the comparative ending —er is not used.
Wrong: You are wiser than old.
Right: You are more wise than old.
Rule 11: When two adjectives in the superlative or comparative degree are used together, the one formed by adding ‘more’ or ‘most’ must follow the other adjective.
Wrong: He is more intelligent and wiser than his brother.
Right: He is wiser and more intelligent than his brother.
Rule 12: When two adjectives with differing degrees of comparison are used they should be complete in themselves.
Wrong: He is as wise, if not wiser than his brother.
Right: He is an as wise brother.
Rule 13: When two changes happen together, the comparative degree is used in both.
- The higher you go, the cooler you feel.
Rule 14: When the comparative degree is used in a superlative sense,
Wrong: it is followed by any other’ Kapil is better than any bowler.
Right: Kapil is better than any other bowler.
Rule 15: The compound adjective formed by adding worth’ is placed after the noun it qualifies.
Wrong:- This is worth seeing the sight.
Right: This is a sight worth seeing.
Rule 16: When two or more comparatives are joined by ‘and’, they must be in the same degree.
- Russel was one of the wisest and most learned men of the world.
Rule 17: When there are two objects of comparison, then to avoid repetition of a noun, ‘that’ is used for singular noun and ‘those’ for a plural noun.
Wrong: The debate of Randi is better than Gaya.
Right: The climate of Ranchi is better than that of Gaya.
Rule 18: If the comparison is made by using ‘other’, ‘then’ is used instead of ‘but’.
- He turned out to be no other than my old friend.
Rule 19: Likely, certain and sure are followed by ‘to’.
- He is likely to win. We are sure to need help. Confused
Some More Examples: