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Comparatives Superlatives
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Comparatives Superlatives


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  • 1. COMPARISON * There are three degrees of comparison: 1 Positive: dark tall useful 2 Comparative: darker taller more useful 3 Superlative: darkest tallest most useful * One-syllable adjectives form their comparative and superlative by adding er and est to the positive form: - bright ───── brighter ──── brightest - new ───── newer ──── newest * Adjectives of three or more syllables form their comparative and superlative by putting more and most before the positive: - expensive ──────── more expensive ──── most expensive - interesting ────── more interesting ──── most interesting * Adjectives of two syllables follow one or other of the above rules. Those ending in er, y, or ly add er, est: - clever ─────── cleverer ─────── cleverest - easy ──────── easier ──────── easiest - holy ───────── holier ──────── holiest * Irregular comparisons: - good ──── better ────── best - bad ───── worse ───── worst - little ── less ────── least - many ──┬─ more ────── most - much ──┘ ┌── further ─────── furthest - far ────┴── farther ─────── farthest - old ────┬── older ───────── oldest └── elder ───────── eldest
  • 2. * With adverbs of two or more syllables the comparative is formed by putting more before the adverb, and the superlative by putting most before the adverb: - quickly ──────── more quickly ────────── most quickly - fortunately ──── more fortunately ────── most fortunately * Single-syllable adverbs, however, and the adverb early, add er and est: - hard ──────────── harder ──────────── hardest - fast ──────────── faster ──────────── fastest - early ─────────── earlier ─────────── earliest * Irregular comparisons: - well ───────── better ──────── best - badly ──────── worse ───────── worst - late────────── later ───────── last - little ─────── less ────────── least - much ───────── more ────────── most - far ───────┬── farther ─────── farthest └── further ─────── furthest * After comparatives we use than. - Jill is more intelligent than Alec. - Peter works harder than John. - It's cheaper to go by car than to go by train. * Before the comparative of adjectives and adverbs you can use: a bit / a little / much / a lot / far / a good deal - Let's go by car. It's much (or a lot) cheaper. - Could you speak a little (or a bit) more slowly? - Her illness was far more serious than we at first thought * Further ( but not 'farther') can also mean more or additional: -Let me know immediately if you hear any further news. (= any more news). * Older and elder The comparative of old is older: - Tom looks older than he really is. We use elder when we are talking about members of a family. We say (my) elder brother /sister /son /daughter:
  • 3. - My elder brother is a pilot. We use elder only before a noun: - My brother is older than me (not 'elder than me'). * Sometimes you can use two comparatives together. For example: harder and harder, more and more, more and more difficult. We use this structure to say that something is changing continuously: - It's becoming harder and harder to find a job. - Your English is improving. It's getting better and better. - These days more and more people are learning English. * Note the structure: the + comparative the + comparative. -'What time shall we leave?' 'The sooner the better.'(= it will be best if we leave as soon as possible) -'What size box do you want? ''The bigger the better.'(= it will be best if the box is as big as possible) - The warmer the weather, the better I feel. - The earlier we leave, the sooner we will arrive. -The more electricity you use, the higher your bill will be. * not so/as .......... as ....... -Jack isn't as old as he looks. (= He looks older than he is). -The city centre wasn't as crowded this morning as it usually is. (= it is usually more crowded). -Jim didn't do as well in his examination as he had hoped. (= he had hoped to do better) * as .................... as .............. - I'm sorry I'm late. I got here as fast as I could. - There's plenty of food, so eat as much as you like. - Can you send me the money as soon as possible, please? * We also say twice as ..... as, three times as ..... as, etc. - Petrol is twice as expensive as it was a few years ago. - Their house is about three times as big as ours. * We say the same as (not 'the same like') -Ann's salary is the same as mine. (or 'Ann gets the same salary as me') - Tom is the same age as George. * After than and as it is more usual to say me/him/her/them/us when there is no verb. Compare these sentences: - You are taller than I am = You are taller than me. - I can't run as fast as he can = I can't run as fast as him. - They have more money than we have = They have more money than us. * After superlatives, we use in with places (towns, buildings, etc.):
  • 4. -What's the longest river in the world? (not 'of the world.') - We were lucky to have one of the nicest rooms in the hotel. Also(the best...) in the class/in the team/in the company, etc. But: the happiest day of my life, the hottest day of the year. Note that we often use the present perfect after a superlative: - What's the best film you've ever seen? - That was the most delicious meal I've had for a long time. * We sometimes use most + adjective (without 'the') to mean very: -The book you lent me was most interesting. (= very interesting) -Thank you for the money. It was most generous of you. (= very generous).