An adjective is used to compare two or more nouns. It can highlight similarities or differences between nouns.
Most Descriptive Adjectives and some Adjectives of Quantity have degrees of comparison. There are three degrees of comparison: The Positive, the Comparative, and the Superlative.
Degrees of Comparison
The Positive degree of the adjective is used when only the noun is being described. It is used when no comparison is intended.
For Example, New York is a big city. (The adjective ‘big’ merely describes the city.) In the positive degree, the adjective alone is used in the sentence.
Sometimes, in the positive degree, the phrase ‘as (adjective) as’ is used to show a comparison between two things. For Example, Alisha is as tall as Lisa.
- This is a quiet place.
- Peter is a qualified employee.
- Minakshi bought a beautiful house.
- I am not as strong as you.
- Some girls are at least as beautiful as Alisha.
The Comparative degree of the adjective is used when the noun is compared to another in terms of some quality.
For Example, Tokyo is bigger than Bengaluru. (The adjective ‘bigger’ is used to compare ‘Tokyo’ to ‘Bengaluru’.) In the comparative degree, the preposition ‘than’ is used after the adjective.
- My car is faster than yours.
- This jacket is warmer than that one.
- She is taller than her sister.
- The new phone is more expensive than the old one.
- The coffee at this cafe is better than at the other one.
The Superlative degree of the adjective is used when the noun is compared to three or more things.
But, New York is the biggest city of all. (The adjective ‘biggest’ is used to compare ‘New York’ to ‘Tokyo’ and ‘Bengaluru’.)
Note: In the superlative degree, the definite article ‘the’ is used with the adjective.
- Tokyo is the most populous city in the world.
- Nina is not the most beautiful of the girls.
- Chennai is not one of the richest towns in India.
- Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth.
- The Nile is the longest river in the world.
Degrees of Comparison |Positive Vs Comparative Vs Superlative
|No other city in the USA is as crowded as New York.||New York is more crowded than any other city in the USA.||New York is the most crowded city in the USA.|
|Very few authors are as engaging as Peter.||Peter is more engaging than most of the other authors.||Peter is among the few most engaging authors.|
|None of the players were as confident about the match as their captain.||None of the players was as confident about the match as their captain.||The captain was the most confident about the match.|
|It is good to speak up as opposed to suffering silently||It is better to speak up than suffer silently.||It is best to speak up and avoid suffering silently.|
|No other house he owns is as large as the one they live in.||The house they live in is larger than the other houses he owns.||None of the players was as confident about the match as their captain.|
Formation of Comparative and Superlative Degree
Regular Degrees of Comparison
Most adjectives with single syllables end with the suffix ‘-er’ or ‘-est’ in the comparative degree and superlative degree, respectively.
Some adjectives which contain two or more syllables form the comparative and superlative degrees by adding the words ‘more’ and ‘most’, respectively.
|gorgeous||more gorgeous||most gorgeous|
|interesting||more interesting||most interesting|
|talented||more talented||most talented|
|diligent||more diligent||most diligent|
|difficult||more difficult||most difficult|
When the positive degree adjectives end in ‘-y’ preceded by a consonant, the ‘y’ becomes ‘i’ and ‘er’ and ‘est’ are added.
Irregular Degrees of Comparison
Some comparisons are irregular and do not follow the same rules as conventional adjectives. Their comparative and superlative degrees are not formed from their positive degree.
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