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Some Important Rules of Determiners and Adjectives

Published on Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Good knowledge of rules of grammar and their correct usage in right perspective,  Is the only way of attempting the questions relating to the spotting errors.

Farther/Farthest and Further/Furthest -

Both forms (Farther/Farthest and Further/ Furthest) can be used for distances.
Examples - (a) New York is farther/ further than Lincoln or Selby.

(b) New York is the farthest/ furthest town.

Further is usually used with abstract noun to mean additional/extra.
Example - No further action is needed in this matter.
Furthest can also be used with abstract nouns.
Examples -
(a) This was the furthest point they reached in their discussion.
(b) This was the furthest concession he would make.

Elder/ Eldest and Older/ Oldest -

Elder/eldest are chiefly used for comparisons within a family. They imply seniority rather than age. Elder and eldest are used for seniority rather than age. Elder and eldest are used for persons, while older and oldest are used for persons as well as for things. Elder is not used with ‘than’, it takes ‘to’. Older/Oldest is used for age.
Examples (a) Ram is my elder brother.
(b) This is the oldest college in our city.

Later/Latest/Latter/Last -

Latter and Latest are used with reference to time. Latter and last is used with reference to order. Latest refers to new (last up to now) or very recent things. Last means final or not new after that. In talking about events, (inventions), productions etc., we used latest. Latter is used for comparison of two in order; for more than two we use last.
Examples - (a) He came later than Ram.
(b) He came in the last.
(c) Between Ram and Shyam , the latter is more intelligent.
(d) Of iron and silver, the latter is known as white metal.
(e) This is the latest fashion.
(f) Lord Mountbatten was the last Governor General of India.

Many/Much(Adjectives and Pronouns) -

  • Many(adjective) is used before countable nouns. 
  • Much(adjective) is used before uncountable nouns. 
Examples -
(a) She didn’t buy many books.
(b) We haven’t much sugar.

The comparative and superlative of much and many are some more and most.
Less ,Fewer and Lesser When we talk about countable things,we use the word fewer ; when we talk about uncountables, we use the word less. She has fewer chores, but she also had less energy.
We do, however, definitely use less when referring to statistical or numerical expressions.

Examples - (a) It’s less than fifty kilometers to Delhi.
(b) He’s less than five feet tall

Lesser means less important.

Examples - (a) Many lesser speakers also came to speak.
(b) Many lesser leaders were present in the function.

Taller than I/me , Which is correct?
Examples –
He is taller than I .
He is taller than me.
The correct answer is “taller than I.

Due to/ Owing to -

Due to can be used as a complement of the verb. Due to means ‘as a result of while owing to means’ because of.

Examples - (a) He failed due to his negligency.
(b) Owing to his negligency, he failed.
(c) The accident was due to carelessness.
(d) Owing to carelessness, there was an accident.
Due to is also used after a noun and to introduce an adjectival construction as following.
Examples -
(a) Mistakes due to carelessness may have serious consequences.
(b) A power failure due to a fault in the cable, brought all the machinery to standstill.

Near/Next -

The adjective near can be used like a preposition with or without to. To is not normally used when we talk about physical closeness.
Example He lives near the railway station.
Next is used to talk about time or series, it means ‘after this’.
Example She got off at the next stop.

Some/Any –

1. Some is used normally in affirmative with countables and uncountables as well. In Interrogative Sentences ‘Some’ is used for request or offer or command and for which answer in affirmation is expected.
Examples - (a) I shall buy some books. (Countable)
(b) They have purchased some fruits. (Un Countable)
(c) Will you give me some milk? ( Request )

2. Any is normally used in negative and Interrogative Sentences for countables and uncountables as well.
Examples - (a) I don’t have any pen.
(b) Have you any novel?
Any can also be used in Affirmative Sentences after ‘if. 
Example Do you have any parrot in your residence?

Each/Every/Either/Neither -

  • Each/Every/Either/Neither always takes singular noun and singular verb. 
  • If ‘every’ is followed by any plural adjective of number (two, three, four etc.), then it takes plural noun. 
(a) She takes medicine every three hours.
(b) He visits here every two months.

Each/Every -

Each and Every are similar in meaning. Each is used for two and more than two while every is always used for more than two.
  • Each Two and more than two. 
  • Every More than two. 
Examples (a) Each of the two girls gets a prize.
(b) Each of the ten students gets a prize.
(c) Every student gets a prize.
(d) Every candidate was given a certificate.

Little/A Little/ The Little -

Little is used for uncoutables. Little means ‘hardly any’. It has negative meaning (almost nothing). A little means ‘some though not much’. It has positive meaning. The little means ‘not much but all that is’. It also has positive meaning.
1. Use of little ‘hardly any’
Example - He takes little interest in parental business. (He has hardly any or no interest)
2. A little means - Not much but some.
Example - We have a little hope of his recovery. (He may recover.)

3. The little Not much but all there is.
Example -
The little money she had, was also spent on medicines. (He had no money now.)

Few/ A Few/ The Few -

Few is used for countables. Few means ‘hardly any’. It has a negative meaning. A few means ‘not many’. It has a positive meaning. The few means ‘not many’ but all there are’. It also has positive meaning.
1. Use of ‘Few’ Means ‘Hardly any’
Example - Few people are fully happy. (Hardly any people).

2. Use of ‘A few’ means ‘not many’
Example - A few person can write correct English

3. Use of ‘The few’ means ‘not many but all there are’
Examples – The few utensils she had , all taken by the thief

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