Monday, June 28, 2010

Three Degree - Positive, comparative and superlative degree in English grammer

The camel is tall. The elephant is taller than the camel. But,
the tallest animal is the giraffe. It is nearly 5 metres tall. The giraffe
also has the longest neck in the world. Its small head sits at the top
of its long, long neck. The neck is longer than the rest of its body!

‘Tall’ describes the height of the camel. ‘Taller’ compares
the height of the elephant to that of the camel. ‘Tallest’ describes
the height of the giraffe when compared to all the others. Similarly,
’large’ describes the size of the rhinoceros. ‘Larger’ compares the
size of the elephant to that of the rhinoceros. ‘Largest’ describes
the size of the whale when compared to ail the others.
We see that the adjectives change in form (tall, taller, tallest;
large, larger, largest) to show comparison. They are called the three
Degrees of Comparison.

Tall and large, are in the positive degree.
Taller and larger, are in the comparative degree.
Tallest and largest, are in the superlative degree.

The positive degree is used to denote the existence of a quality
in something.

The comparative degree denotes a higher degree of quality
and is used when two things are compared.

The superlative degree denotes the highest degree of quality
and is used when more than two things are compared.

Generally, the comparative is formed by adding ‘er’ to the
adjective and the superlative is formed by adding ‘est’.

e.g. sweet sweeter sweetest
rich richer richest

When the adjective ends in ‘e’, only ‘r’ and ‘st’ are added.
e.g. large larger largest
brave braver bravest

When the adjective ends in ‘y’, preceded by a consonant,
the ‘y’ is changed into ‘i’ before adding ‘er’ and ‘est’.
e.g. heavy heavier heaviest
lazy lazier laziest

For some adjectives ending in a single consonant, the
consonant is doubled before adding ‘er’ and ‘est’.
e.g. fat fatter fattest
mad madder maddest

Certain adjectives form the comparative by using the adverb
‘more’, and the superlative by adding the adverb ‘most’.
beautiful more beautiful most beautiful
difficult more difficult most difficult

The following adjectives are compared irregularly, that is,
their comparative and superlative are not formed from the positive.

Positive Comparative  Superlative
Good      better      best    
Bad     worse     worst    
Little     less     least    
Much, many     more      most
Far     farther     farthest    
Late     later, latter     latest, last    

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