Degrees of Comparison
So far I have discussed about the various kinds of Adjectives and their usage. One of the main usages of an Adjective is to show comparison
Let's study the following sentences:
Sudha is a clever girl.
Sudha is cleverer than Seema.
Sudha is the cleverest girl in the class.
If we analyse the above three sentences we can observe that
* In sentence 1, the adjective clever only gives us an idea of the cleverness of Sudha.
* In sentence 2, the adjective cleverer tells us that if we compare the cleverness of Sudha and Seema, we will find that Sudha is cleverer in comparison to Seema.
* In sentence 3, the adjective cleverest tells us that if with compare Sudha with any other girl of the class, we will find that no other girl in the class is as clever as Sudha.
Thus, we can conclude that
Adjectives are used to show comparison between two or more similar nouns.
When an Adjective is used to show such comparison, it changes its form. These forms are called the Degrees of Comparison.
There are three Degrees of Comparison, they are:
1. Positive Degree of Comparison:
2. Comparative Degree of Comparison:
3. Superlative Degree of Comparison:
Let's discuss them one by one:
* Positive Degree
When an adjective is used merely to show the quality of a noun, it is said to be in the Positive Degree. In such a case, the adjective is in its simple form and merely shows the existence of some quality that is present in the person/object we are talking about.
Remember: Positive Degree of an adjective is used when no comparison is made.
Puneeta is a good girl.
Rehana is beautiful.
Arindam is a clever boy.
* Comparative Degree:
When an adjective is used merely to show a higher degree of the quality than the Positive Degree, it is said to be in the Comparative Degree.
Remember: Comparative Degree of an adjective is used to make a comparison between the qualities of two persons or things.
Mohini is taller than Neha.
Rachna is prettier than Sweta.
Ashok is wiser than Aloke.
Note: While making a comparative degree, the word ‘than' (meaning ‘in comparison to') is used after the comparative form of the adjective.
* Superlative Degree:
The Superlative Degree of an adjective expresses the highest degree of quality present in a person or thing.
Remember: Superlative Degree of an adjective is used to make a comparison between the qualities of a person or thing to more than two persons or things.
Salim is the oldest man of our village.
Richa is the prettiest girl of the school.
Rubina is the smartest girl in the college.
Note: While making a Superlative degree, the Article ‘the' is used before the superlative form of the adjective.
Formation of Comparative and Superlative Degrees
Several methods are used to change Positive Degree into Comparative and Superlative Degree. Some of them are listed below:
*Most adjectives are changed into Comparative by adding ‘er' and Superlative by adding ‘est' at the end of the Positive Degree.
Positive Degree Comparative Degree Superlative Degree
Bold bolder boldest
Clever cleverer cleverest
Hard harder hardest
Long longer longest
Great greater greatest
* When the Positive Degree of an adjective ends in ‘e', only ‘r' ‘st' are added to form Comparative and Superlative.
Able abler ablest
Dense denser densest
Fine finer finest
Large larger largest
Noble nobler noblest
*When a Positive Degree ends in ‘y' and is preceded by a consonant, ‘y' is changed into ‘I' and ‘er' or ‘est' is added at the end.
Cosy cosier cosiest
dry drier driest
Easy easier easiest
Heavy heavier heaviest
Busy busier busiest
* When the Positive Degree ends in a single consonant and preceded by a short vowel, the consonant is doubled and ‘er' or ‘est' is added in the end to make it Comparative or Superlative.
Big Bigger Biggest
Fat fatter fattest
Hot hotter hottest
Sad sadder saddest
Thin thinner thinnest
* Adjectives having more than two syllables are changed into Comparative and Superlative by adding ‘more' and ‘most' after the Positive Degree.
Active more active most active
Careful more careful most careful
Difficult more difficult most difficult
Hopeful more hopeful most hopeful
Obedient more obedient most obedient
* There are some adjectives, the Comparatives and Superlatives of which are not formed from their Positives; rather entirely different words are used to form the same.
Bad/evil/ill worse worst
Good/well better best
Little less/lesser least
Late later/latter latest/last
Much (Quantity) more most
Remember: Certain comparative adjectives ending with ‘or' do not take ‘than' after them; rather they are followed by the Preposition ‘to':
Examples: senior, junior, inferior, superior, prior etc.
Manish is junior to me.
All my friends are senior to me.
This coat is inferior to that (coat)
Your pen is superior to mine. (my pen)
She will meet me prior to her departure of London.
As shown above.
Since the three forms of Adjectives are available in any Grammar Book, I am not giving them here.