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Adjectives

Degrees of Comparison

 

When you are done, try the Degrees of Comparison Quiz.

Degrees of comparison refers to adjectives being written in different forms to compare one, two or more nouns which are words describing persons, places and things.

The three different forms of comparison are the positive, the comparative and the superlative. The positive is the form of the adjective that describes one noun. The comparative form of the adjective compares two nouns. The superlative form of the adjective compares more than two nouns.

Most comparative forms of the adjective are formed by adding er to the positive form of the adjective. Most superlative forms of the adjective are formed by adding est to the positive form of the adjective.

The table below gives examples. The adjectives are in italics.

Mercury is a large planet.

Earth is larger than Mercury

 

Jupiter is the largest planet of all.
Mercury
Earth
Jupiter

 

Some adjectives change spelling in the comparative and superlative forms when er and est are added respectively. If the adjective in the positive form ends in y, the y is changed to i and the endings er or est are added in the comparative and superlative. With a common adjective such as big, the final g is doubled in the comparative and superlative forms before the er and est are added.

The table below gives examples. The adjectives are in italics.

Positive
Comparative
Superlative
Big dolphin
Bigger dolphin
Biggest dolphin

Dolphin

 

Dolphin

 

 

Dolphin

 

Tiny butterfly
Tinier butterfly
Tiniest butterfly

 

 

Butterfly

 

Butterfly

 

Butterfly

 

 

If an adjective has more than one syllable, the word more or less is placed in front of the positive form of the adjective in the comparative form and the er is not added. If the adjective has three or more syllables, the word most or least is placed in front of the positive form of the adjective.

The table below gives examples. The adjectives are in italics.

Intelligent
animal
More intelligent animal Most intelligent animal
Worm Frog Dog

 

 

Some common adjectives have irregular comparative and superlative forms. The table below gives examples of the positive, comparative and superlative forms of these adjectives.

 

Positive Comparative Superlative
good
better
best
bad
worse
worst
little
less
least

much, many, some

more
most
far
further
furthest

 

 

 

There are some adjectives that aren't used in the comparative or the superlative.

These would include: absolute, adequate, chief, complete, devoid, entire, fatal, final, ideal, impossible, inevitable, irrevocable, main, manifest, minor, parmount, perpetual, preferable, principal, stationary, sufficient, unanimous, unavoidable, unbroken, unique, universal, whole

 

 

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