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Comparative and Superlative forms of Adjectives and Adverbs

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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The English language uses adjectives and adverbs in a sentence to describe the quality of a noun or a verb. In other words, some words that add meaning to the noun or verb of a sentence are called adjective and adverb respectively.

The adjectives and adverbs can have two forms in a sentence; a comparative form or a superlative form. These forms are classified by the way they describe the noun or verb. Today, we will discuss the differences between these two forms of adjectives and adverbs and the role they play in building a sentence.

Comparative Form

As we know that the word comparative came from the origin word, compare, comparative form of adjectives and adverbs are used in a sentence when a comparison has to be drawn between two nouns or verbs.

Example:

The red blouse is prettier than the white one.

The regular form of shorter adjectives and adverbs (i.e. one or two syllable) can be converted into comparative forms by the addition of suffix -er. If the adjective ends in -y, it’s comparative can be formed by replacing it with an –I if the –y is preceded by a consonant. For example, pretty becomes prettier.

This question is simpler than the one I solved yesterday.

Notice that in the above example, simpler is used which is the comparative form of the adjective simply. Simply ends in -y and is preceded by a consonant, so we just replaced the y with -er.

When longer adjectives (more than two syllables) or adverbs ending with –ly are to be converted into comparative forms, instead of adding -er at the end, we add the word more before the adjective or adverb.

Example:

Adam is more intelligent than his sister Anna.

As intelligent is a longer adjective, we added the word  more before it to compare the noun Adam with another noun Anna.

Tina poured tea more carefully than she did yesterday as she did not want to burn her hand again.

In this example, carefully is an adverb ending in -ly and we use more before it to express the comparison in how the tea was poured by Tina today and yesterday.

Superlative Form

While comparative forms of nouns and verbs are used to compare between two nouns or verbs, the superlative forms are used to compare between more than two nouns or verbs in a sentence.

Like comparative form, if the adjective or adverb is short, it can be converted into superlative form by addition of -est at the end.

Example:

This question is the simplest of all I have ever solved.

The question subject solved is compared to the rest of the questions (more than two) he solved and is described as easiest.

Likewise, if the adjective is longer or the adverb ends in y, the word most is used before the adjective or adverb.

Adam is the most intelligent among his siblings.

In the above example, Adam’s intelligence is compared to that of his siblings (more than two), thus the superlative form (most) is used.

Apart from all these rules there are some exceptions. There exist some adjectives and adverbs in English language which have irregular comparative and superlative forms and you just have to remember them the way they are. These include: bad (worse, worst)/well (better, best)/much (more, most).

 

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