General Factors contributing in Sla presentation


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  • From The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Styleby Bryan Garner. Copyright 1995 by Bryan A. Garner. Published by Oxford University Press, Inc.,, and used with the gracious consent of Oxford University Press.
  • Authority for this section: A University Grammar of English by Randolph Quirk and Sidney Greenbaum. Longman Group: Essex, England. 1993. Used with permission.
  • General Factors contributing in Sla presentation

    2. 2. General factors contributing to indivi differences in second language learn
    3. 3. Page  3 Effects of age on second language acquisition There are many differences among second language learners. In first language acquisition by children, individual differences (e.g. across genders or the language being learned) are largely overshadowed by striking similarities in terms of natural stages and ultimate attainment. However, in second language acquisition, individual differences have more of an impact on the second language learning process, and their role has thus received considerable attention in recent years. Learners' beliefs and affective factors are likely to have a direct effect on second language learning, but they themselves may be influenced by a number of general factors relating to learners' ability and desire to learn and the way they choose to go about learning. One of those important areas of difference among second language learners is age. We now turn to a discussion of four main effects of age on second language acquisition.
    4. 4. Page  4 Keywords:  first language acquisition; second language acquisition; affective factors; age; learners' beliefs; native-speaker proficiency  An individual difference that is believed to play a key role in second language learning is age.
    5. 5. Page  5 Age  It is commonly thought that younger language learners are more successful and indeed researchers have found a relationship between age of acquisition and ultimate attainment in at least some aspects of the second language, with age showing itself to be the strongest predictor of success. This is supported by the Critical Period Hypothesis. Originally discussed in the late 1960s by Eric Lenneberg, this hypothesis states that language acquisition must occur before puberty in order for the speaker to reach native-like fluency. Penfield and Roberts (1959), for example, argued that the optimum period for language acquisition falls within the first ten years of life, when the brain retains its plasticity
    6. 6. Page  6  This controversy centres on both whether there are significant differences in L2 learning according to age, and also on the theoretical explanations for those differences which researchers claim to have found. As Larsen- Freeman and Long (1991) point out, however, the age issue is an important one for theory building in second language acquisition research, for educational policy-making, and for language pedagogy. If it can be shown that older learners are different from younger learners, the claim that adults have continued access to Universal Grammar is called into question. If it can be shown that younger learners do better than older learners, the case for an early start in foreign language education is strengthened. If it can be shown that children learn in different ways to adults, language teachers will need to identify different approaches and techniques to suit the two kinds of learners. In order to untangle the research results, it is helpful to consider a number of separate but related questions:
    7. 7. Page  7  What effect does age have on the processes of second language learning?  What effect does age have on the rate of second language learning?  What effect does age have on learners' levels of second language achievement?  What effect does age have on learners' ability to achieve native-speaker levels of proficiency?
    8. 8. Page  8  2. The effects of age on the process of second language acquisition  There have been few studies of the effects of age on the process of second language acquisition. The morpheme studies showed that the order of acquisition of a group of English morphemes was the same for children and adults (Bailey, Madden, and Krashen 1974; Fathman 1975). However, conclusions based on the morpheme studies are circumspect given their methodological problems. Studies which have investigated the sequence of acquisition in transitional structures such as negatives and interrogatives are not subject to the same methodological strictures, however. They show that adults go through the same stages of acquisition as children (for example, Cancino et al. 1978). Age, therefore, does not appear to affect the general developmental pattern.
    9. 9. Page  9  Process differences may occur in second language pronunciation, however. Riney (1990) reviewed literature relating to whether learners display a preference for an open syllable structure in early interlanguage. He argued that in the case of learners who began before the age of 12 years, no open syllable preference is evident (as Sato's (1987) study indicates), but in the case of learners beginning after 12 years there was, as in Tarone's (1980a) study. In data collected from Vietnamese learners of English, Riney was able to show that whereas age had no effect on the final deletion of consonants (one way of making a target-language closed syllable open), it did have a marked effect on epenthesis (the insertion of a vowel at the end of a closed syllable). Whereas the incidence of epenthesis in 10 -12- year-old children was less than 5 percent, in some adult learners it was over 30 percent. Furthermore, epenthesis in adult learners did not significantly decline with increased exposure to English. It is obviously premature to conclude that age has no effect on the process of acquisition. The research to date suggests that the effect may be a minimal one in the case of grammar, but possibly more significant in the case of pronunciation.
    10. 10. Page  10 3. The effects of age on rate of second language learning  In their review of the research that has addressed the age issue, Krashen, Long, and Scarcella (1979) concluded that a) adults are superior to children in rate of acquisition b) older children learn more rapidly than younger children The study most often cited in support of these conclusions is Snow and Hoefnagel-Höhle (1978). This study investigated the naturalistic acquisition of Dutch by eight- to ten-year-old English-speaking children, twelve- to fifteen-year-old adolescents, and adults over a ten-month period. The learners' proficiency was measured on three separate occasions (after three months, six months, and at the end of the study). With regard to morphology and syntax the adolescents did best, followed by the adults, with the children last. However, there were only small differences in pronunciation, and the grammar differences diminished over time as the children began to catch up.Experimental studies have also shown that adults outperform children in the short term.
    11. 11. Page  11  For example, Olsen and Samuels (1973) found that American English- speaking adolescents and adults performed significantly better than children after ten 15-25 minute German pronunciation sessions. However, other studies suggest that, at least where pronunciation is concerned, adults do not always progress more rapidly than children. Cochrane (1980), for example, investigated the ability of 54 Japanese children and 24 adults to discriminate English /r/and /l/. The average length of naturalistic exposure was calculated as 245 hours for the adults and 193 for the children (i.e. relatively little). The children outperformed the adults, although in a follow-up experiment in which the two groups were taught the phonemic distinction, the adults benefited while the children did not. The research gives general support to Krashen, Long and Scarcella's generalization that adults learn faster than children. It appears to be more applicable to grammar than pronunciation (where children seem to learn as rapidly, if not more rapidly, than adults), although in the case of formal learning situations adults seem to do better even in this area of learning.
    12. 12. Page  12  4. The effects of age on learners' second language achievement  The majority of second language learners fail to reach native-speaker levels of ability. It is also important to ask whether age effects are evident in such learners. Do learners who begin learning as children in general reach higher levels of second language ability than those who start as adolescents or adults? This question has been addressed in research that has compared the level of proficiency reached by second language learners who began as children with that of learners who began as adults. We do not know, of course, if these studies show the effects of age on these learners' ultimate level of attainment, as the assumption that they have reached their ‘final state’ (are fossilized) may not be justified.
    13. 13. Page  13  A number of studies have investigated the relative effects of starting foreign language education in the primary school as opposed to the secondary school on the levels of attainment. For example, Burstall (1975) reports on a pilot scheme in England and Wales. She compared two groups of students with five years of instruction. One group had begun learning French at the age of 8, while the other had begun at the beginning of secondary school (11 years). She found that the older learners were 'consistently superior'. When both groups were compared at the age of 16, the secondary school starters outperformed the primary school starters on tests of speaking, reading, and writing and were inferior only on a test of listening.
    14. 14. Page  14  Harley (1986) investigated the levels of attainment of children in French bilingual programmes in Canada. She focused on the learners' acquisition of the French verb system, obtaining data from interviews, a story repetition task, and a translation task. She compared early and late immersion students after both had received 1,000 hours of instruction. Neither group had acquired full control of the verb system, but the older students demonstrated greater overall control. However, the early immersion group showed higher levels of attainment at the end of their schooling, a result that may reflect the additional number of years' instruction they had received rather than starting age.
    15. 15. Page  15  The results from these and other school-based studies (see Singleton (I989) for a review) is not supportive of the claim that children's level of attainment is greater than that of adolescents/ adults. One possible explanation for this- advanced by Singleton- is that formal learning environments do not provide learners with the amount of exposure needed for the age advantage of young learners to emerge. Studies of learners in naturalistic learning situations provide the most convincing evidence that younger is better and, therefore, some support for the critical period Learners who start as children achieve a more native-like accent than those who start as adolescents or adults. Oyama (1976) investigated 60 male immigrants who had entered the United States at ages ranging from 6 to 20 years and had been resident there for between 5 and 18 years.
    16. 16. Page  16  She asked two adult native speakers to judge the nativeness of the learners' accents in two 45-second extracts taken from performance on a reading-aloud task and a free- speech task. Oyama reports a very strong effect for age of arrival but almost no effect for 'number of years' in the United States. She found that the youngest arrivals performed in the same range as native-speaker controls. Other studies which have investigated the effects of age on pronunciation (for example, Asher and Garcia 1969; Tahta, Wood, and Loewenthal  1981) support the younger-is-better position. Similar results have been obtained for the acquisition of grammar.
    17. 17. Page  17  Patkowski's (1980; 1990) study of 67 educated immigrants to the United States found that learners who had entered the United States before the age of 15 were rated as more syntactically proficient than learners who had entered after 15. Furthermore, there was a marked difference in the distribution of the scores (based on native speakers' ratings on a five-point scale) for the two groups. The adult group's scores were evenly distributed, with the majority at midpoints on the rating scale. The child group's scores clustered at the high end of the rating scale, with 29 out of 33 achieving a rating of 4+ or 5. Patkowski also investigated the effects of number of years spent in the United States, amount of informal exposure to English, and amount of formal instruction.
    18. 18. Page  18  Only the amount of informal exposure had any significant effect, and even this was negligible in comparison with the age factor. Patowski's findings are confirmed by Johnson and Newport's (1989) study of 46 native Koreans and Chinese who had arrived in the United States between the ages of 3 and 39, half before the age of 15 and half after 17. The subjects were asked to judge the grammaticality of 276 spoken sentences, about half of which were grammatical. Overall the correlation between age at arrival and judgment scores was -0.77 (i.e. the older the learners were at arrival, the lower their scores).
    19. 19. Page  19  Far less variation was found in the scores of the child group than in the adult group. Neither the number of years of exposure to English beyond five nor the amount of classroom instruction was related to the grammaticality judgment scores, and although an effect for 'identification with American culture' was found, this was much weaker than that for age. In his summary of these and other studies, Singleton (1989) writes:  Concerning the hypothesis that those who begin learning a second language in childhood in the long run generally achieve higher levels of proficiency than those who begin in later life, one can say that there is some good supportive evidence and that there is no actual counter evidence (1989: 137).
    20. 20. Page  20  This is one of the few definite conclusions that Singleton feels able to reach in a comprehensive survey of age-related research. It is worthwhile noting, however, that this conclusion may not hold true for the acquisition of second language literacy skills, Cummins and Nakajima (1987) examined the acquisition of reading and writing skills by 273 Japanese children in grades two to eight in Toronto. They found that the older the students were on arrival in Canada, the more likely they were to have strong second language reading skills and, to a lesser extent, better second language writing skills. The explanation Cummins and Nakajima offer is that the older learners benefited from prior literacy experience in Japanese (see the discussion of the Interdependency Principle in Chapter 6 The Study of Second Language Acquisition, Rod Ellis 1994).
    21. 21. Page  21 5. The effects of age on the acquisition of native- speaker proficiency  The controversy regarding the role of age is fiercest when it comes to considering the effects of age on the achievement of native-speaker levels of proficiency. This question is the crucial one for the critical period hypothesis. Neufeld's (1978) study is often cited by those seeking evidence to refute the hypothesis. In this study, 20 adult native speakers of English were given 18 hours of intensive instruction in the pronunciation of Chinese and Japanese. To test the nativeness of their pronunciation, the learners were then given an imitation test and their utterances judged on a five-point scale (from unmistakably native to heavily accented) by native speakers of the two languages. Nine and eight of the subjects were rated as native for Japanese and Chinese respectively. This study suggests, therefore, that under the right conditions adults can achieve native ability in pronunciation-the area of language generally considered to be the most difficult for adults to acquire. Neufeld {1977; 1979) conducted other studies with similar results.
    22. 22. Page  22  However, his studies have been strongly criticized by supporters of the critical period hypothesis. Long (1990a), for instance, argues that Neufeld's subjects represented an 'elite', that the imitation test produced 'rehearsed' rather than natural data, and that the instructions given to the raters predisposed them to think that some of the subjects were native speakers. These criticisms — and those made by Patkowski (1990) — are legitimate, but they do not refute the essential claim that Neufeld seeks to make, namely that it is possible for adults to achieve native-speaker levels of proficiency in an L2.
    23. 23. Page  23  Another frequently cited experimental study provides evidence to support the critical period hypothesis. Coppieters (1987) tested 21 highly proficient speakers of French, all of whom had begun learning as adults, and compared their performance on a grammaticality judgment task with that of 20 native speakers. Coppieters notes that it was not possible to distinguish the two groups by the mistakes they made, their choice of lexis, or grammatical constructions and six of the subjects were also described as having no traces of a foreign accent. The results of the grammaticality judgment test, however, showed clear differences between the two groups, suggesting that despite the native-like performance of the learners in language production, their grammatical competence differed from that of native speakers. Again, though, it is possible to raise methodological objections to this study. Coppieters did not include a group of learners who had started to learn second language French as children, thus we cannot be sure that the results he obtained reflect age as opposed to some other factor. Also, as in the case of Neufeld's imitation test, doubts can be raised about whether grammaticality judgments constitute a valid means of measuring competence.
    24. 24. Page  24  Birdsong (1992) identifies "numerous procedural and methodological features of the Coppieters study that compromise its conclusions" (1992: 711).  Birdsong's own replication of this study casts serious doubts on the results Coppieters obtained. Birdsong administered a grammaticality judgment test to 20 English-speaking learners of second language French, who were near- native in their oral ability, and to 20 native speakers of French. The study was motivated by Long's (1990a) challenge to researchers to investigate 'whether the very best learners actually have native-like competence' (1990a: 281). Contrary to Coppieters, Birdsong found no evidence of any dramatic differences in the judgments of the non-native speakers and native speakers. A number of the non-native speakers performed in the same range as the native speakers on the grammaticality judgment test. Furthermore, Birdsong could find no evidence of marked differences between the two groups in the think-aloud data that he collected from the subjects as they performed their judgments. This study, then, suggests that at least some learners who start learning a second language after puberty achieve a level of competence indistinguishable from that of native speakers.
    25. 25. Page  25  Another way of investigating the claims of the critical period hypothesis is to investigate whether learners who start learning a second language as young children and enjoy favorable learning conditions succeed in reaching native levels of proficiency. Thompson's (1991) study of foreign accents in Russian immigrants in the United States addressed this question. Thompson found that those learners who had arrived before they were ten years old had a more native-like English accent than those who came after this age-a finding that bears our the results of earlier studies reported in the next section. What is in-teresting about this study, though, is that two subjects who came to the United States at the age of four years were still rated as having a slight accent, a result that Thompson considers "a problem for the Critical Period Hypothesis" (1991: 199). Thompson speculates that these learners' failure to achieve native-speaker levels of pronunciation was because they had maintained a high level of speaking proficiency in Russian, and that this led to what Weinreich (1953) has called an interlingual identification. Thompson's study is important he-cause it suggests the need to consider age in relation to other factors, such as first language maintenance, and that not all learners will wish to sound like native speakers.
    26. 26. Page  26  Yet another way of assessing whether learners can achieve native- speaker levels in a second language is to see whether they are able to recognize spoken or written accents in the same way as native speakers. Scovel (1981) asked four groups of judges (adult native speakers, child native speakers, adult non-native speakers, and adult aphasics) to rate speech samples and written pieces produced by a mixture of native and non-native speakers. He found that even the most advanced non-native speakers achieved an accuracy rate of only 77 percent, which was about the same as the child native speakers (73 percent) but less than the adult native speakers (95 percent) and even the aphasic native speakers (85 percent). Like Coppieters' study, this study suggests that even very advanced learners lack some of the linguistic abilities of native speakers.
    27. 27. Page  27  The experimental studies that have investigated the effects of age on the acquisition of native-speaker levels of proficiency have produced mixed results and, at this stage, the verdict must remain an open one. It is possible that under ideal circumstances learners who start after puberty can learn to produce speech and writing that cannot easily be distinguished from that of native speakers.
    28. 28. Page  28 Some General Conclusions  The research that has addressed the age issue is quite enormous. Not surprisingly, commentators have arrived at different conclusions, but despite this some consensus is  1) Adult learners have an initial advantage where rate of learning is concerned, particularly in grammar. They will eventually be overtaken by child learners who receive enough exposure to the L2. This is less likely to happen in instructional than in naturalistic settings because the critical amount of exposure is usually not available in the former.
    29. 29. Page  29  2) Only child learners are capable of acquiring a native accent in informal learning contexts. Long (1990a) puts the critical age at 6 years, but Scovel argues that there is no evidence to support this and argues for a pre- puberty start. Singleton (1989) points out that children will only acquire a native accent if they receive massive exposure to the second language. However, some children who receive this exposure still do not achieve a native- like accent, possibly because they strive to maintain active use of their first language. Adult learners may be able to acquire a native accent with the assistance of instruction, but further research is needed to substantiate this claim.
    30. 30. Page  30  3) Children may be more likely to acquire a native grammatical competence. The critical period for grammar may he later than for pronunciation (around 15 years). Some adult learners, however, may succeed in acquiring native levels of grammatical accuracy in speech and writing and even full 'linguistic competence'.  4) Irrespective of whether native-speaker proficiency is achieved, children are more likely to reach higher levels of attainment in both pronunciation and grammar than adults. The process of acquiring a second language grammar is not substantially affected by age, but that of acquiring pronunciation may be.
    31. 31. Page  31
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    34. 34. Page  34
    35. 35. Page  35 Definition Types & Order Usage Position of Adjectives Degrees of Adjectives Pre-modifiers with D of A The Order of Adjectives in a Series Capitalizing Proper Adjectives Collective Adjectives Adjectival Opposites Some Adjectival Problem Children A- Adjectives
    36. 36. Page  36 What is an Adjective? An adjective is a word that tells us more about a noun. (By "noun" we include pronouns and noun phrases.) An adjective "qualifies" or "modifies" a noun (a big dog). Adjectives can be used before a noun (I like Chinese food) or after certain verbs (It is hard). We can often use two or more adjectives together (a beautiful young French lady). Tip!!! It is sometimes said that the adjective is the enemy of the noun. This is because, very often, if we use the precise noun we don't need an adjective. For example, instead of saying "a large, impressive house" (2 adjectives + 1 noun) we could simply say "a mansion" (1 noun).
    37. 37. Page  37  Adjectives are used to clarify nouns.  Adjectives can be one word or a group of words.  Adjectives can also be used with certain verbs (such as the verb "to be"). Adjectives are used to clarify the subject that is doing the action, adjectives are not used to clarify the verb.  Adjectives are used to describe color, material, shape, size, amount, price, quality, origin, personality, weight, temperature, weight, age, direction, etc. Adjectives are neither singular or plural. They remain the same. They never take a final -s
    38. 38. Page  38 Types and Order of Adjectives Types Order
    39. 39. Page  39 Types of Adjectives Opinion Age Size Shape Colour Material Origin Purpose Determiners
    40. 40. Page  40 An opinion adjective explains what you think about something (other people may not agree with you). Examples: silly, beautiful, horrible, difficult Opinion 1. "He's a silly fool,― 2. "she's a smart woman."
    41. 41. Page  41 A size adjective, of course, tells you how big or small something is. Examples: large, tiny, enormous, little Size 1. This is a big house. 2. I live in a small house
    42. 42. Page  42 An age adjective tells you how young or old something or someone is. Examples: ancient, new, young, old Age 1. I am an old teacher. 2. She is a young student.
    43. 43. Page  43 A shape adjective describes the shape of something. Examples: square, round, flat, rectangular 1. I want the round ball. 2. He wants the square ball? Shape
    44. 44. Page  44 A colour adjective, of course, describes the colour of something. Examples: blue, pink, reddish, grey Colour / Color 1. I want the black cat. 2. He wants the grey dog.
    45. 45. Page  45 An origin adjective describes where something comes from. Examples: French, lunar, American, eastern, Greek Origin 1. He wants a pair of American jeans. 2. She wants that French handbag.
    46. 46. Page  46 Material A material adjective describes what something is made from. Examples: wooden, metal, cotton, paper 1. I want the wooden trey. 2. She would like to have the metal trey.
    47. 47. Page  47 Purpose A purpose adjective describes what something is used for. These adjectives often end with "-ing". Examples: sleeping (as in "sleeping bag"), roasting (as in "roasting tin") 1. We will use the sleeping bags tonight. 2. I am going to use the roasting tin for the duck for dinner.
    48. 48. Page  48 Determiners Determiners are words that are used with nouns to clarify the noun. They can clarify: to define something or someone to state the amount of people, things or other nouns to state possessives to state something or someone is specific to state how things or people are distributed to state the difference between nouns to state someone or something is not specific
    49. 49. Page  49 A n old round wooden clock. A thin tall French man. A cute yellow bamboo chair. The large fat German woman. Adjective Order Determiners Opinion Size Age Shape Colour Origin PurposeMaterial
    50. 50. Page  50 Adjective Usage •Adjectives are placed before a noun – usually. •The form of the adjective stays the same for all types of nouns. •Adjectives can be used with all forms of nouns. Look at this! Go to the next page and read the examples carefully.
    51. 51. Page  51 Examples "Fast, fun, new, old, red, ugly" are all adjectives. They describe a noun. READ THESE EXAMPLES: It's a fast car. It's a fun car. It's a new car. It's an old car. It's a red car. It's an ugly car. Adjectives can come BEFORE the NOUN (adjective + noun) EXAMPLES: It's an expensive bicycle. It's a racing bicycle. It's a red bicycle. Adjectives can come AFTER a BE verb. (BE + adjective) EXAMPLES: The butterfly is pretty. The butterfly is blue. Butterflies are interesting.
    52. 52. Page  52 Nouns can also work as adjectives. A noun can help describe an object. EXAMPLES: It's a business meeting. They're having a job interview. It's a school conference. Present participles (-ing verbs) can also work as adjectives. EXAMPLES: Baseball is an exciting game. Baseball is interesting. It's an interesting game. Past participles (verb 3) can also work as adjectives. EXAMPLES: The man is tired. The exhausted man fell asleep. He was worn out by work today.
    53. 53. Page  53 Adjectives can be hyphenated. EXAMPLES: The computer-generated error message made the program freeze. My friend isn't very good at do-it-yourself projects. Numbers can be used as adjectives. EXAMPLES: That's a three-ton truck. The man is a thirty-seven-year-old trucker. In his 20-year career, he's never had an accident. Adjectives can be used to compare things. EXAMPLES: Cats are softer than dogs. My cat is the cutest cat I know.
    54. 54. Page  54 Position of Adjectives Unlike Adverbs, which often seem capable of popping up almost anywhere in a sentence, adjectives nearly always appear immediately before the noun or noun phrase that they modify. Sometimes they appear in a string of adjectives, and when they do, they appear in a set order according to category. When indefinite pronouns — such as something, someone, anybody — are modified by an adjective, the adjective comes after the pronoun: Anyone capable of doing something horrible to someone nice should be punished. Something wicked this way comes. And there are certain adjectives that, in combination with certain words, are always "postpositive" (coming after the thing they modify): The president elect, heir apparent to the Glitzy fortune, lives in New York proper. More Examples:
    55. 55. Page  55 Degrees of Adjectives Adjectives can express degrees of modification: Gladys is a rich woman, but Josie is richer than Gladys, and Sadie is the richest woman in town. The degrees of comparison are known as the positive, the comparative, and the superlative. (Actually, only the comparative and superlative show degrees.) We use the comparative for comparing two things and the superlative for comparing three or more things. Notice that the word than frequently accompanies the comparative and the word the precedes the superlative. The inflected suffixes -er and -est suffice to form most comparatives and superlatives, although we need -ier and -iest when a two-syllable adjective ends in y (happier and happiest); otherwise we use more and most when an adjective has more than one syllable.
    56. 56. Page  56 Positive Comparative Superlative rich richer richest lovely lovelier loveliest beautiful more beautiful most beautiful Certain adjectives have irregular forms in the comparative and superlative degrees: Irregular Comparative and Superlative Forms good better best bad worse worst little less least much many some more most far further furthest
    57. 57. Page  57 Be careful not to form comparatives or superlatives of adjectives which already express an extreme of comparison — unique, for instance — although it probably is possible to form comparative forms of most adjectives: something can be more perfect, and someone can have a fuller figure. People who argue that one woman cannot be more pregnant than another have never been nine-months pregnant with twins.
    58. 58. Page  58 According to Bryan Garner, "complete" is one of those adjectives that does not admit of comparative degrees. We could say, however, "more nearly complete." I am sure that I have not been consistent in my application of this principle in the Guide (I can hear myself, now, saying something like "less adequate" or "more preferable" or "less fatal"). Other adjectives that Garner would include in this list are as follows: absolute impossible principal adequate inevitable stationary chief irrevocable sufficient complete main unanimous devoid manifest unavoidable entire minor unbroken fatal paramount unique final perpetual universal ideal preferable whole
    59. 59. Page  59 Be careful, also, not to use more along with a comparative adjective formed with -er nor to use most along with a superlative adjective formed with -est (e.g., do not write that something is more heavier or most heaviest). The as — as construction is used to create a comparison expressing equality: • He is as foolish as he is large. • She is as bright as her mother.
    60. 60. Page  60 Pre-modifiers with Degrees of Adjectives Both adverbs and adjectives in their comparative and superlative forms can be accompanied by premodifiers, single words and phrases, that intensify the degree. • We were a lot more careful this time. • He works a lot less carefully than the other jeweler in town. • We like his work so much better. • You'll get your watch back all the faster. The same process can be used to downplay the degree: • The weather this week has been somewhat better. • He approaches his schoolwork a little less industriously than his brother does.
    61. 61. Page  61 And sometimes a set phrase, usually an informal noun phrase, is used for this purpose: • He arrived a whole lot sooner than we expected. • That's a heck of a lot better. If the intensifier very accompanies the superlative, a determiner is also required: • She is wearing her very finest outfit for the interview. • They're doing the very best they can. Occasionally, the comparative or superlative form appears with a determiner and the thing being modified is understood: • Of all the wines produced in Connecticut, I like this one the most. • The quicker you finish this project, the better. • Of the two brothers, he is by far the faster.
    62. 62. Page  62 Less versus Fewer When making a comparison between quantities we often have to make a choice between the words fewer and less. Generally, when we're talking about countable things, we use the word fewer; when we're talking about measurable quantities that we cannot count, we use the word less. "She had fewer chores, but she also had less energy." The managers at our local Stop & Shop seem to have mastered this: they've changed the signs at the so-called express lanes from "Twelve Items or Less" to "Twelve Items or Fewer." Whether that's an actual improvement, we'll leave up to you. We do, however, definitely use less when referring to statistical or numerical expressions: It's less than twenty miles to Dallas. He's less than six feet tall. Your essay should be a thousand words or less. We spent less than forty dollars on our trip. The town spent less than four percent of its budget on snow removal. In these situations, it's possible to regard the quantities as sums of countable measures.
    63. 63. Page  63 Taller than I / me ?? When making a comparison with "than" do we end with a subject form or object form, "taller than I/she" or "taller than me/her." The correct response is "taller than I/she." We are looking for the subject form: "He is taller than I am/she is tall." (Except we leave out the verb in the second clause, "am" or "is.") Some good writers, however, will argue that the word "than" should be allowed to function as a preposition. If we can say "He is tall like me/her," then (if "than" could be prepositional like like) we should be able to say, "He is taller than me/her." It's an interesting argument, but — for now, anyway — in formal, academic prose, use the subject form in such comparisons. We also want to be careful in a sentence such as "I like him better than she/her." The "she" would mean that you like this person better than she likes him; the "her" would mean that you like this male person better than you like that female person. (To avoid ambiguity and the slippery use of than, we could write "I like him better than she does" or "I like him better than I like her.")
    64. 64. Page  64 More than / over ?? In the United States, we usually use "more than" in countable numerical expressions meaning "in excess of" or "over." In England, there is no such distinction. For instance, in the U.S., some editors would insist on "more than 40,000 traffic deaths in one year," whereas in the UK, "over 40,000 traffic deaths" would be acceptable. Even in the U.S., however, you will commonly hear "over" in numerical expressions of age, time, or height: "His sister is over forty; she's over six feet tall. We've been waiting well over two hours for her."
    65. 65. Page  65 The Order of Adjectives in a Series It would take a linguistic philosopher to explain why we say "little brown house" and not "brown little house" or why we say "red Italian sports car" and not "Italian red sports car." The order in which adjectives in a series sort themselves out is perplexing for people learning English as a second language. Most other languages dictate a similar order, but not necessarily the same order. It takes a lot of practice with a language before this order becomes instinctive, because the order often seems quite arbitrary (if not downright capricious). There is, however, a pattern. You will find many exceptions to the pattern in the table below, but it is definitely important to learn the pattern of adjective order if it is not part of what you naturally bring to the language.
    66. 66. Page  66 The categories in the following table can be described as follows: I. Determiners — articles and other limiters. II. Observation — postdeterminers and limiter adjectives (e.g., a real hero, a perfect idiot) and adjectives subject to subjective measure (e.g., beautiful, interesting) III. Size and Shape — adjectives subject to objective measure (e.g., wealthy, large, round) IV. Age — adjectives denoting age (e.g., young, old, new, ancient) V. Color — adjectives denoting color (e.g., red, black, pale) VI. Origin — denominal adjectives denoting source of noun (e.g., French, American, Canadian) VII. Material — denominal adjectives denoting what something is made of (e.g., woolen, metallic, wooden) VIII.Qualifier — final limiter, often regarded as part of the noun (e.g., rocking chair, hunting cabin, passenger car, book cover)
    67. 67. Page  67 Go Here It would be folly, of course, to run more than two or three (at the most) adjectives together. Furthermore, when adjectives belong to the same class, they become what we call coordinated adjectives, and you will want to put a comma between them: the inexpensive, comfortable shoes. The rule for inserting the comma works this way: if you could have inserted a conjunction — and or but — between the two adjectives, use a comma. We could say these are "inexpensive but comfortable shoes," so we would use a comma between them (when the "but" isn't there). When you have three coordinated adjectives, separate them all with commas, but don't insert a comma between the last adjective and the noun (in spite of the temptation to do so because you often pause there): a popular, respected, and good looking student
    68. 68. Page  68 Capitalizing Proper Adjectives When an adjective owes its origins to a proper noun, it should probably be capitalized. Thus we write about Christian music, French fries, the English Parliament, the Ming Dynasty, a Faulknerian style, Jeffersonian democracy. Some periods of time have taken on the status of proper adjectives: the Nixon era, a Renaissance / Romantic / Victorian poet (but a contemporary novelist and medieval writer). Directional and seasonal adjectives are not capitalized unless they're part of a title: We took the northwest route during the spring thaw. We stayed there until the town's annual Fall Festival of Small Appliances.
    69. 69. Page  69 Collective Adjectives When the definite article, the, is combined with an adjective describing a class or group of people, the resulting phrase can act as a noun: the poor, the rich, the oppressed, the homeless, the lonely, the unlettered, the unwashed, the gathered, the dear departed. The difference between a Collective Noun (which is usually regarded as singular but which can be plural in certain contexts) and a collective adjective is that the latter is always plural and requires a plural verb: • The rural poor have been ignored by the media. • The rich of Connecticut are responsible. • The elderly are beginning to demand their rights. • The young at heart are always a joy to be around.
    70. 70. Page  70 Adjectival Opposites The opposite or the negative aspect of an adjective can be formed in a number of ways. One way, of course, is to find an adjective to mean the opposite — an antonym. The opposite of beautiful is ugly, the opposite of tall is short. A thesaurus can help you find an appropriate opposite. Another way to form the opposite of an adjective is with a number of prefixes. The opposite of fortunate is unfortunate, the opposite of prudent is imprudent, the opposite of considerate is inconsiderate, the opposite of honorable is dishonorable, the opposite of alcoholic is nonalcoholic, the opposite of being properly filed is misfiled. If you are not sure of the spelling of adjectives modified in this way by prefixes (or which is the appropriate prefix), you will have to consult a dictionary, as the rules for the selection of a prefix are complex and too shifty to be trusted. The meaning itself can be tricky; for instance, flammable and inflammable mean the same thing.
    71. 71. Page  71 A third means for creating the opposite of an adjective is to combine it with less or least to create a comparison which points in the opposite direction. Interesting shades of meaning and tone become available with this usage. It is kinder to say that "This is the least beautiful city in the state." than it is to say that "This is the ugliest city in the state." (It also has a slightly different meaning.) A candidate for a job can still be worthy and yet be "less worthy of consideration" than another candidate. It's probably not a good idea to use this construction with an adjective that is already a negative: "He is less unlucky than his brother," although that is not the same thing as saying he is luckier than his brother. Use the comparative less when the comparison is between two things or people; use the superlative least when the comparison is among many things or people. • My mother is less patient than my father. • Of all the new sitcoms, this is my least favorite show.
    72. 72. Page  72 Some Adjectival Problem Children Good versus Well In both casual speech and formal writing, we frequently have to choose between the adjective good and the adverb well. With most verbs, there is no contest: when modifying a verb, use the adverb. He swims well. He knows only too well who the murderer is. However, when using a linking verb or a verb that has to do with the five human senses, you want to use the adjective instead. How are you? I'm feeling good, thank you. After a bath, the baby smells so good. Even after my careful paint job, this room doesn't look good. Many careful writers, however, will use well after linking verbs relating to health, and this is perfectly all right. In fact, to say that you are good or that you feel good usually implies not only that you're OK physically but also that your spirits are high. "How are you?" "I am well, thank you."
    73. 73. Page  73 Bad versus Badly When your cat died (assuming you loved your cat), did you feel bad or badly? Applying the same rule that applies to good versus well, use the adjective form after verbs that have to do with human feelings. You felt bad. If you said you felt badly, it would mean that something was wrong with your faculties for feeling.
    74. 74. Page  74 Other Adjectival Considerations Adjectives that are really Participles, verb forms with -ing and -ed endings, can be troublesome for some students. It is one thing to be a frightened child; it is an altogether different matter to be a frightening child. Do you want to go up to your professor after class and say that you are confused or that you are confusing? Generally, the -ed ending means that the noun so described ("you") has a passive relationship with something — something (the subject matter, the presentation) has bewildered you and you are confused. The -ing ending means that the noun described has a more active role — you are not making any sense so you are confusing (to others, including your professor).
    75. 75. Page  75 The -ed ending modifiers are often accompanied by prepositions (these are not the only choices): •We were amazed at all the circus animals. •We were amused by the clowns. •We were annoyed by the elephants. •We were bored by the ringmaster. •We were confused by the noise. •We were disappointed by the motorcycle daredevils. •We were disappointed in their performance. •We were embarrassed by my brother. •We were exhausted from all the excitement. •We were excited by the lion-tamer. •We were excited about the high-wire act, too. •We were frightened by the lions. •We were introduced to the ringmaster. •We were interested in the tent. •We were irritated by the heat. •We were opposed to leaving early. •We were satisfied with the circus. •We were shocked at the level of noise under the big tent. •We were surprised by the fans' response. •We were surprised at their indifference. •We were tired of all the lights after a while. •We were worried about the traffic leaving the parking lot.
    76. 76. Page  76 A- Adjectives The most common of the so-called a- adjectives are ablaze, afloat, afraid, aghast, alert, alike, alive, alone, aloof, ashamed, asleep, averse, awake, aware. These adjectives will primarily show up as predicate adjectives (i.e., they come after a linking verb). • The children were ashamed. • The professor remained aloof. • The trees were ablaze. Occasionally, however, you will find a- adjectives before the word they modify: the alert patient, the aloof physician. Most of them, when found before the word they modify, are themselves modified: the nearly awake student, the terribly alone scholar. And a- adjectives are sometimes modified by "very much": very much afraid, very much alone, very much ashamed, etc.
    77. 77. Page  77