Adjectives Comparison- Degrees of Comparison

By | March 11, 2019

Adjectives in English have a special place. There is a vast study of Adjectives. Understanding adjective meaning is not difficult with edumantra. Here we provide all adjective rules and adjective words that are used in the adjective exercise. With the help of some adjective examples, we will provide adjectives worksheets and adjectives quiz that will explain how to use adjectives in a sentence and how some examples of adjectives into adverbs. This page basically describes adjectives comparison which is known as adjectives degrees of comparison, adjectives degree, To study adjectives grammar learn the adjectives definition and find the adjectives kinds and adjective and be full of knowledge-


(A)       There are three degrees of comparison:

Positive                     Comparative                    Superlative
Dark                             darker                                   darkest

 Tall                              taller                                      tallest

 useful                        more useful                              most useful

(B)       One-syllable adjectives form they’re comparative and superlative by adding er and est to the positive form:

Bright                          brighter                                   brightest

Adjectives ending in e add r and st:

 brave                          braver                                     bravest

(C) Adjectives of three or more syllables form they’re comparative and superlative by putting more and most before the positive:

 interested                  more interested                     most interested

 frightening                 more frightening                   most frightening

(D)Adjectives of two syllables follow one or other of the above rules. Those ending in full or re usually take more and most:

doubtful                      more doubtful                        most doubtful

obscure                       more obscure                         most obscure

Those ending in er, y or ly usually add er, est:

 Clever                        cleverer                                   cleverest

Pretty                         prettier                                   prettiest (note that they become i)

silly                             sillier                                        silliest

(E)Irregular comparisons:

 bad                            worse                                      worst

far                              farther                                     farthest (of distance only)

further                      farther                                     furthest/ farthest

good                          better                                       best

little                          less                                            least

many/much            more                                         most

old                            elder                                          eldest (of people only)

                                 older                                          oldest (of people and things)

(F) farther/farthest and further/furthest

Both forms can be used for distances:

  • York is farther/further than Lincoln or Selby.
  • York is the farthest/furthest town or
  • York is the farthest/furthest of the three.

further can also be used, mainly with abstract nouns, to mean ‘additional/extra’:

  • Further supplies will soon be available.
  • Further discussion/debate would be pointless.

 Similarly: further enquiries/delays/demands/information/instructions etc.

 furthest can be used similarly, with abstract nouns:

  • This was the furthest point they reached in their discussion.
  • This was the furthest concession he would make.

(G) far (used for distance) and near

In the comparative and superlative both can be used quite freely:

the farthest/furthest mountain              the nearest river

 But in the positive form, they have limited use.

far and near are used chiefly with bank, end, side, wall etc.:

  • the far bank (the bank on the other side)
  • the near bank (the bank on this side of the river)

near can also be used with the east, and far with north, south, east and west.

With other nouns far is usually replaced by assistant/re, note and nearby/neighbouring: a remote island, the neighbouring village.

 (H)  elder, eldest; older, oldest

elder, eldest imply seniority rather than age. They are chiefly used for comparisons within a family: my elder brother, her eldest boy/girl;

but elder is not used with than, so older is necessary here:

He is older than I am. (elder would not be possible.) In colloquial English eldest, oldest and youngest are often used of only two boys/girls/children etc.:

  • His eldest boy’s at school; the other is still at home.

This is particularly common when the eldest, oldest are used as pronouns:

Tom is the eldest. (of the two)             

Constructions with comparisons

(A) With the positive form of the adjective, we use as . . . as in the affirmative and net as/not so . . . as in the negative:

  • A boy of sixteen is often as tall as his father.
  • He was as white as a sheet.
  • Manslaughter is not as/so bad as murder.
  • Your coffee is not as/so good as the coffee my mother makes.

(B) With the comparative we use then:

  • The new tower blocks are much higher than the old buildings.
  • He makes fewer mistakes than you (do).
  • He is stronger than I expected =
  • I didn’t expect him to be so strong.
  • It was more expensive than I thought =
  • I didn’t think it would be so expensive.

 When then. . . is omitted, it is very common in colloquial English to use a superlative instead of a comparative: This is the best way could be said when there are only two ways.

(C) Comparison of three or more people/things is expressed by the superlative with the . . . in/of:

  • This is the oldest theatre in London.
  • The youngest of the family was the most successful.
  • A relative clause is useful especially with a perfect tense:
  • It/This is the best beer (that) I have ever drunk.
  • It/This was the worst film (that) he had ever seen.
  • He is the kindest man (that) I have ever met.
  • It was the most worrying day (that) he had ever spent.

 Note- ever is used here, not never. We can, however, express the same idea with never and a comparative:

  • I have never drunk better beer.          
  • I have never met a kinder man.
  • He had never spent a more worrying day.

Note that most + adjective, without the, means very:

You are most kind means            You are very kind.

 most meaning very is used mainly with adjectives of two or more syllables: annoying, apologetic, disobedient, encouraging, exciting, helpful, important, misleading etc.

(D) Parallel increase is expressed by the + comparative . . . the + comparative:

HOUSE AGENT: Do you want a big house?

ANN’: Yes, the bigger the better.

Tom: But the smaller it is, the less it will cost us to heat.

(E)Gradual increase or decrease is expressed by two comparatives joined by and:

  • The weather is getting colder and colder.
  • He became less and less interested.

(F)Comparison of actions with gerunds or infinitives:

  • Riding a horse is not as easy as riding a motorcycle.
  • It is nicer/more fun to go with someone than to go alone.

(G) Comparisons with like (preposition) and alike:

  • Tom is very like Bill.
  • Bill and Tom are very alike.
  • He keeps the central heating full on.
  • It’s like living in the tropics.

(H) Comparisons with like and as (both adverb and adjective expressions are shown here)

 In theory like (preposition) is used only with noun, pronoun or gerund:

  • He swims like a fish.
  • You look like a ghost.
  • Be like Peter/him: go jogging.
  • The windows were all barred.
  • It was like being in prison.

and as (conjunction) is used when there is a finite verb:

  • Do as Peter does: go jogging.
  • Why don’t you cycle to work as we do?

 Note- But in colloquial English like is often used here instead of as:

  • Cycle to work as we do.

I like + noun and as + noun:

  • He worked like a slave. (very hard indeed)
  • He worked as a slave. (He was a slave.)
  • She used her umbrella as a weapon. (She struck him with it.)

than/as + pronoun + auxiliary

(A)When the same verb is required before and after than/as we can use an auxiliary for the second verb:

  • I earn less than he does. (less than he earns)

The same tense need not be used in both clauses:

  • He knows more than I did at his age.

(B) When the second clause consists only of than/as + I/we/you + verb and there is no change of tense, it is usually possible to omit the verb:

  • I’m not as old as you (are).
  • He has more time than I/we (have).

Informal English, we keep I/we, as the pronoun is still considered to Ix the subject of the verb even though the verb has been omitted. In informal English. however, me/us is more usual:

  • He has more time than me.
  • They are richer than us.

(C) When than/as is followed by he/she/it + verb, we normally keep the verb: You are stronger than he is.

 But we can drop the verb and use he/she/they in very formal English or him/her/them in very colloquial English.

These rules apply also to comparisons made with adverbs:

  • I swim better than he does/better than him.
  • They work harder than we do/harder than us.
  • You can’t type as fast as I can/as fast as me.

the + adjective with a plural meaning

A blind, deaf, disabled, healthy/sick, living/dead, rich/poor, unemployed and certain other adjectives describing the human character or condition can be preceded by the and used to represent a class of persons. These expressions have a plural meaning: they take a plural verb and the pronoun is they:

  • The poor get poorer; the rich get richer.

 the can be used in the same way with national adjectives ending in ch or sh:

  • the Dutch
  • the Spanish
  • the Welsh

and can be used similarly with national adjectives ending in se or ss:

  • the Burmese
  • the Chinese
  • the Japanese
  • the Swiss

though it is just possible for these to have a singular meaning.

(B) Note that the + adjective here refers to a group of people considered in a general sense only. If we wish to refer to a particular group, we must add a noun:

  • These seats are for the disabled.
  • The disabled members of our party were let in free.
  • The French like to eat well.
  • The French tourists complained about the food.

Some colours can be used in the plural to represent people but these take s like nouns: the blacks, the whites.

(C) the + Adjective can occasionally have a singular meaning:

  • The accused
  • the unexpected

Adjectives + one/ones and adjectives used as pronouns

(A) The Most adjectives can be used with the pronouns one/ones when one/ones represent ‘a previously mentioned noun:

  • Don’t buy the expensive apples; get the cheaper ones.
  • Hard beds are healthier than soft ones.
  • I lost my old camera; this is a new one.

Similarly with a number + adjective:

  • If you haven’t got a big plate, two small ones will do.

(B) Adjectives used as pronouns

 first/second etc. can be used with or without one/ones; i.e. they can be used as adjectives or pronouns:

  • Which train did you catch?
  • I caught the first (one).

 the + superlative can be used similarly:

  • Tom is the best (runner).
  • The eldest was only ten.

 and sometimes the + comparative:

 Which (of these two) is the stronger?

But this use of the comparative is considered rather literary, and in informal English, a superlative is often used here instead:

  • Which (of these two is the strongest?

Adjectives of colour can sometimes be used as pronouns:

  • I like the blue (one) best.

Colours of horses, especially bay, chestnut, grey are often used as pronouns and take s in the plural:

  • Everyone expected the chestnut to win.
  • The coach was drawn by four greys.

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