Hello reader! In this article, we are going to discuss an exciting and important concept, which is the various degrees of comparison of adjectives in English grammar. This chapter is extremely important in order to master the concept of adjectives and learn English grammar effectively.
Essentially, an adjective is a part of speech that is used to qualify a noun or a pronoun. It means, it highlights the quality of the noun or the pronoun in the sentence. The various degrees of comparison of adjectives denote the levels of the quality of the noun mentioned. These degrees are also known as the forms of the adjective. There are three degrees in which an adjective can be formed/ compared. They are as follows:
Degrees of Comparison
- Positive Degree
- Comparative Degree
- Superlative Degree
Positive Degree of the Adjective
The primary form of the adjective is called the positive degree. It is the adjective itself. For example,
- Ron is tall.
- The bridge is long.
- Michael is a bad person.
- Monica is studious.
- The scenery of beautiful.
Comparative Degree of the Adjective
The comparative degree of the adjective is used when two persons or things are compared. To change the positive degree into comparative, the adjective is adjoined with ‘er’ or ‘more’. If we take the previous examples into consideration, they are written in the comparative degree as follows:
- Ron is taller than Donald.
- The Howrah bridge is longer than the Victoria bridge.
- Michael is worse than Adam.
- Monica is more studious than Mary.
- The scenery in this room is more beautiful than the one in that room.
Superlative Degree of the Adjective
When comparing three or more nouns or subjects, the superlative degree is used in the sentence. Let us, again, take the above three adjectives and write them in the superlative degree. They can be written as follows:
- Ron is the tallest person in the room.
- The Howrah bridge is the longest bridge in the world.
- Michael is the worst person I’ve seen.
- Monica is the most studious student in the room.
- That scenery is the most beautiful scenery of all.
Rules for Writing an adjective in the Positive, Comparative, and Superlative Degrees
The following are some of the important rules for the degrees of comparison of adjectives:
Rule 1: While comparing the subjects between two things, only the comparative degree is to be used. For example,
- Mary is the richest of the two women. (INCORRECT)
- Mary is the richer of the two women. (CORRECT)
Rule 2: While writing a sentence in the comparative degree, the word ‘than’ is used after the adjective. hence, the structure of the adjective in the comparative degree is “adjective + er + than“. For example,
- Don is taller than his father.
Rule 3: Adjectives for the Same Noun
It is mentioned above that the comparative degree is used when comparing two persons or things. However, two qualities are compared of a single person or thing, the positive degree should be used. And the word ‘more’ is used before the adjective. For example,
- Ram is more lucky than hardworking. (The word Luckier should not be used).
- His speech is more loud than clear.
Rule 4: How to Convert Comparative and Superlative into positive Degree
If an adjective is to be changed from comparative or superlative degrees to positive degree, the adjective should be used between “as—-as” and “so——as”. For example,
- “Dan Brown is greater than Hitchins” can be changed into “Hitchins is not so great as Dan Brown”.
- “Mount Everest is the highest mountain peak in the world” can be written as “No other peak in the world is as high as Mount Everest”.
Rule 5: While writing an adjective in the superlative degree, the article ‘the’ is used before it. For example,
- Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world.
- Russia is the largest country.
- Maria is the tallest girl in the class.
Some more Rules
Rule 6: For adjectives ending in ‘ior’ such as superior, inferior, junior, senor, prior, anterior, posterior, exterior, interior, etc, ‘to’ is used in the comparative degree instead of ‘than’. For example,
- She is junior to me in college.
- His grades are inferior to mine.
Rule 7: Some adjectives can only be used in the positive degree and not in comparative and superlative degrees. They are:
perfect, supreme, impossible, absolute, ideal, everlasting, eternal, triangular, unique, universal, entire, chief, entire, major, minor, superior, etc.
Rule 8: For directions, there is no comparative degree. They can only written in positive and superlative degrees.
- East- Easternmost
- West- Westernmost
- North- Northernmost
- South- Southernmost
- Up- Uppermost
- Bottom- Bottomost
Rule 9: The words ‘prefer’ and ‘preferable’ can be used only in the comparative degree, and the preposition ‘to’ is used instead of ‘that’.
- I prefer Coffee to Tea.
- I prefer running to walking.
Also, instead of ‘to’, ‘rather than’ can also be used.
- I prefer Coffee rather than Tea.
- I prefer running rather than walking.
The rule for Converting Superlative Degree into Positive and Comparative Degrees
In the degrees of comparison of adjectives, while converting the superlative degree into the comparative degree, the words “any other” should be used in the comparative degree after the adjective. While converting the superlative degree into the positive degree, the words “no other” should be used.
- Superlative degree: Australia is the smallest continent in the world.
- Comparative degree: Australia is smaller than any other continent in the world.
- Positive degree: No other continent in the world is as small as Australia.
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