Using Adjectives in Comparisons

Mistake:

The first question was more easier than the last question.

Correction:

The first question was easier than the last question.

Explanation:

As more is already built in to easier (easier = more easy), it can’t be used on the double.

Examples:

In general – for regular adjectival comparisons – add  er to the basic form to get the comparative and est for the superlative.

Basic Form Comparative Form (2 nouns) Superlative Form (comparing 3 or more)
tall taller (Jo is the taller of the twins) tallest (Pat is the tallest of the triplets)
soft softer (comparing 2 sofas) softest (comparing 3 or more sofas)

 

Exceptions:

Some adjectives don’t take the er and est endings, i.e. they don’t follow the regular pattern. In most of these cases, put  more / less before the basic to form the comparative and most / least before the basic to form the superlative.

comfortable more comfortable most comfortable
difficult less difficult least difficult

 

There are a few adjectives which have three completely different words in the three forms. Examples are : good / better ( of  two ) / best ( of three or more ), bad / worse / worst , little / less / least and many ( or much ) / more / most.

Some adjectives do not have comparative and superlative forms. Sports commentators regularly score ‘own goals’ when describing shots or goals. When a golfer plays a shot from any distance and the ball finishes up quite close to the hole, the commentator will refer to the shot as perfect. For the shot to be perfect however, it should have gone straight into the hole.

Which is the perfect penalty in soccer? (a) to send the goalkeeper the wrong way while the ball is struck sweetly into the top corner of the net, or (b) the ball is struck weakly, but the goalie makes a hames of trying to stop it and the ball eventually trickles over the line.

Is the first one more perfect than the second? It certainly sounds better, but the purpose of the penalty kick is to score from it, and there’s no extra benefit – other than its aesthetic element – from the first penalty. So, they’re both perfect after all!

Other words in this category are ideal (the ideal solution) and unique (a unique situation). These words are, in fact, quite unique. With regard to ideal, it is correct to say that, the solution is less than ideal because one is not comparing solutions. However, to say that, the solution is more than ideal is a no-no, because ideal in itself is the ultimate state.


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