Types of comparisonsComparisons are of different types,depending on whether the things beingcompared are seen as different orsimilar on the dimension on which theyare being compared. The two maintypes of comparisons: inequality comparisons equality comparisons
Inequality comparisons:• It presents two things being comparedas a different points on a scale relatedto the dimension on which they arebeing compared.John is taller than Bill is.(Bill and John are compared in therespect of height, which has differentdegrees on a scale represented by theadjective tall.)
• In the example the second clause ofcomparison is a reduced version ofpreceding clause, with omission ofcontent that is like the content in thefirst clause. Thus we can write thesentence in different ways: John is taller than Bill is tall. John is taller than Bill is. John is taller than Bill.
Inequality comparisons may express:superiority relationship:• It has the meaning “x is greater than y”. It isexpressed by more or –er on certainadjectives and adverbs and with thanintroducing a second clause.• The element on which things are comparedcan be one that is expressed by an adjective,an adverb, a noun or a verb.• Adjectives used in comparisons need to begradable adjectives.
Examples: Fred is smarter than Alice. adjective (with –er) George is more consideratethan Alan is. adjective (with more) She tries harder than Susan does. adverb (with –er) She speaks more frequently thanhe does. adverb (with more) John has more problems than I do. noun He talks a lot more than she does. verb
• Although generally expressed withcomparative sentences, superiorityrelationships can also be expressed bycertain verbs, such as surpass, prefer (to)and favor (over) and certain combination ofbe + adjective + to. I prefer opera to the ballet. His entry was superior to hers. The solution he suggested is preferable tothe one you just made.
Inferiority relationships:• It has the meaning “x is less than y”.• It is expressed by less- or with count nouns, fewer -followed by than introducing the second clause. The first estimate was less expensive adjectivethan the second. He drives less cautiously than I do. adverb She has much less money thanyou do. noncount noun (with less) Alice has fewer friends thanSusan does. count noun (with fewer) She contributes much less to thediscussion than her husband does. verb
• Although the rule for less and fewer is thatless is used with noncount nouns and fewerwith count nouns; in spoken English, less isused sometimes instead of fewer. On the midterm exam, he made fewermistake than the other students. On the midterm exam, he made less mistakethan the other students.
Equality comparisons:• When we present two things as beingequal in some respect, we makeequality comparisons.• It say that in some respect “x is equalto y”.• Equality comparisons are expressedthrough as…..as, which links the twoclauses.
The hat was as expensive as adjectivethe sweater. This course covers the material adverbas thoroughly as that other course. He has as much/little money asshe does. noncount noun (with much/little) They have as many/few friendsas we do. count noun (with many/few) He contributed as much/little tothe discussion as Susan did. verb
• Equality comparisons can be made in anumber of ways. For example, with be or asimilar verb followed by the same + noun +as, similar to or equal / identical to or (just)like. Susan’s car is the same color as the car wesaw in front of Steve’s house. His views on that matter are similar to thoseof the other speaker. His raincoat is identical to mine. He is just like his sister.
• By inserting not , we can change thesentence expressing inequalitycomparisons. The hat was not as/so expensive as thesweater. This course doesn’t cover the material asthoroughly as that other course. He doesn’t have as much money as shedoes. They don’t have as many friends as we do. He didnt contribute as much as to thediscussion as Susan did.
Exercises:Indicate whether each sentence conveys aninequality relationship, an equalityrelationship or just a difference.1.Her opinion on that matter is definitelydifferent from that of the editorial board.Answer: just a difference2.Bill is less judgment than Alan is.Answer: an inequality relationship.3.Sally is definitely more ambitious thanMarcia is.Answer: an inequality relationship
4.He isn’t really like his brother at all.Answer: just a difference5.A snowshoe hare is just as fast as a lynx.They escape them about 50 percent of thetimeAnswer: an equality relationship6.NASA’s successful landing of robot exploreron Mars does not really surpass some of itsprevious accomplishment, such as landing alunar module.Answer: an inequality relationship
COMPARATIVE FORMS ofCOMPARATIVE FORMS ofADJECTIVES and ADVERBSADJECTIVES and ADVERBS
Single-Syllable Adjectives• Several single-syllable adjectives have specialcomparative formsADJECTIVE COMPARATIVEgood betterbad worsefar farther/furtherold older/elderlittle lessmuch/many more
•For the remaining single- syllable adjectives, -eris preferred.ADJECTIVE COMPARATIVEtall tallerMost adjectives:+ -erold oldercheap cheaperlate later Adjectives endingin -e: + -rnice nicerfat fatter One vowel+oneconsonant: doubleconsonantbig biggerthin thinner
• Some adjectives do commonly occurwith either –er or more. quick quickermore quick fierce fiercermore fierce
Two-Syllable Adjectives:• With two-syllable adjectives, somemust form the comparative with morewhereas others tend to form it with –er.• An –er is preferred with adjectives thatare stressed on the first syllable andend in -y, -ly, -le, or –ow.
•More is required for most other two-syllable adjectives, including thosethat are stressed on the first syllableand end in –ful, -ish, -al, -ic, -ous.
ADJECTIVE COMPARATIVE-fulcareful more carefulharmful more harmful-ishfoolish more foolishfiendish more fiendish-alvital more vitalnormal more normal-icmagic more magicchronic more chronic-ouscautious more cautiousfamous more famous
• Stress placement and the ending of the base formare not always solid predictors of what thecomparative form will be.As the following examples show, adjectives withthe same stress pattern (stress first syllable) andthe same endings (-id, -on, -er, -ed, -ant) in somecases take either –er or more and in others musttake more.
ADJECTIVE COMPARATIVE-idplacid more placidstupid stupider / more stupid-onwanton more wantoncommon commoner / more common-ereager more eagerclever cleverer / more clever-edrugged more ruggedwicked more wicked/ wickeder-antmordant more mordantpleasant more pleasant/ pleasanter
Adjectives with More Than TwoSyllables:• If an adjective has more than two syllables,the comparative form will be made withmore, for example: suspicious more suspicious important more important beautiful more beautiful intelligent more intelligent
• There are very few exception to this,being three syllable adjectives thatwere formed by adding the prefix un-to a two-syllable adjective that formsits comparative in –er. For example: un + happy (unhappy) unhappier un + tidy (untidy) untidier
• Some compound adjectives like good-looking or well-known have two possiblecomparatives. Good-looking better-looking ORmore good-looking well-known better-known ORmore well-known
Participial Adjectives:• Many adjectives are formed from present orpast participles. Participle adjectives haveonly comparative forms with more. When she heard that the plane was overdue,she became even more worried. The game turned out to be more excitingthan we had anticipated.
Double comparatives• More and a following –er comparative formof the adjective are sometimes heard inconversation, even though this is notconsidered acceptable in educated English.For example: This way it is more easier to see. It’s much more warmer in there. She’s a bit more nicer than Mrs. Jones.
• The adverbs well, badly, and far have thesame comparative forms as the adjectivesgood, bad, and far. well better badly worse far farter/further
• The comparative forms of single-syllable adverbs are made by adding –er.fast fasterhard harderlate laterlong longer
• The vast majority of adverbs are derived byadding –ly to adjectives. These adverbs formtheir comparatives with more and less. quickly more quickly regularly more regularly quietly more quietly lively less lively likely less likely easily less easily
Exercises:Indicate whether the cooperative form is eachsentence is acceptable. If not, explain why.1.The problem was not more easier than Ithought.Answer: un acceptable (more is unnecessary.)2.The Art Institute of Chicago has a morecomplete collection of Impressionistpaintings than the museum in Minneapolishas.Answer: acceptable
3.He was supposed to arrive at two o’clock,but he didn’t. At 2:30 he still hadn’t come,and we were getting anxiouser andanxiouser.Answer: unacceptable (two syllable adjectives thathave a stress first syllable and end in –ous form thecomparative with more)4.It is simpler and more efficient to learn therules and abide by them than to ignore them.Answer: acceptable
5.Today it is actually more warmer outside thehouse than inside.Answer: unacceptable (more is unnecessary; this isa double comparative)6.That lecture turned out to be boring than Ihad expected.Answer: unacceptable (participial adjectives formthe comparative with more)7.She was even more strong than I thought.She could lift her own weight.Answer: unacceptable (two-syllable adjectivesending in –y form the comparative with –er)
8.Mr. Cruise’s performance in his latestfilm is less risky than his performanceis Risky Business.Answer: acceptable (adjective of two or moresyllables are usually formed with less)9.Many movie stars are less impressivein person than they are when you seethem on the big screen.Answer: acceptable