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Comparison of Adjectives

Published on Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Comparison of Adjectives

Read these sentences:

1. Rama's house is big.
2. Hari's house is bigger than Rama's.
3. Govind's house is the biggest of all.

In sentence 1, the adjective big merely tells us that Rama's house is big, without saying how much big it is.
In sentence 2, the adjective bigger tells us that Hari's house, compared with Rama's, has More space (bigger in size as compared to Rama’s house).
In sentence 3, the adjective biggest tells us that of all these houses Govind's house has the biggest size or has greatest space among all.
We thus see that Adjectives change in form (big, bigger, and biggest) to show
  • Comparison. They are called the three Degrees of Comparison.
  • The Adjective big is said to be in the Positive Degree.
  • The Adjective bigger is said to be in the Comparative Degree.
  • The Adjective biggest is said to be in the Superlative Degree.

The Positive Degree of an Adjective is in its simple form. It is used to Denote the existence of some quality. It is used when no Comparison is made.
The Comparative Degree of an Adjective denotes a higher degree of the quality than the Positive, and is used when two things (or sets of things) are compared.
For e.g.:-

  • This boy is stronger than that.
  • Which of these two pens is the better?
  • Apples are dearer than oranges.

The Superlative Degree of an Adjective denotes the highest degree of the quality, and is Used when more than two things (or sets of things) are compared.
For e.g.:_

  • This boy is the strongest in the class.

Most Adjectives of one syllable, and some of more than one, form the Comparative by adding ‘er’ and the Superlative by adding ‘est’ to the positive.
Positive Comparative Superlative
Sweet Sweeter Sweetest
Small Smaller Smallest
Tall Taller tallest
Bold Bolder Boldest
Clever Cleverer Cleverest
Kind Kinder Kindest
Young Younger Youngest
Great Greater Greatest
  • When the Positive ends in ‘e’, only ‘r’ and ‘st’ are added.
  • When the Positive ends in ‘j’, preceded by a consonant, the ‘y’ is changed into ‘I’ before adding ‘er’ and ‘est’.
Positive Comparative Superlative
Happy Happier Happiest
Easy Easier Easiest
Heavy Heavier Heaviest
Merry Merrier Merriest
Wealthy Wealthier wealthiest
  • When the Positive is a word of one syllable and ends in a single consonant, preceded by a short vowel, this consonant is doubled before adding ‘er’ and ‘est’.
Positive Comparative Superlative
Red Redder Reddest
Big Bigger Biggest
Hot Hotter Hottest
Thin Thinner Thinnest
Sad Sadder Saddest
Fat Fatter Fattest
  • Adjectives of more than two syllables form the Comparative and Superlative by putting more and most before the Positive.
BeautifulMore beautifulMost beautiful
DifficultMore difficultMost difficult
IndustriousMore industriousMost industrious
CourageousMore courageousMost courageous
Adjectives ending infill (e.g. useful), less (e.g. hope less), ‘ing’ (e.g. boring) and ‘ed’ (e.g. surprised) and many others (e.g. modern, recent, foolish, famous, certain) take more and most.
  • With some adjectives you have the luxury of choosing either ‘er/est’ or ‘more/most’
Positive Comparative Superlative
Sure Surer(more sure) Surest(most sure)
Real Realer(more real) Realest(most real)
Clever Cleverer(more clever) Cleverest(most clever)
Common Commoner(more common) Commonest(most common)
Severe Severer(more severe) Severest(most severe)
  • Some adjectives are irregular, but these are easy to memorize, here are some of the common used irregular adjectives :
Positive Comparative Superlative
Good Better Best
Bad Worse Worst
Far Farther Farthest
Little Lesser Least
Much More Most

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