Using Adjectives to Make Comparisons
One kid says, “My dad is good.” The second one says, “My dad is gooder.” The third says, “My dad is more gooderer.”
Mistakes like that are cute when they come out of the mouths of little kids on the playground. But when I find them in a formal report I am reviewing for a colleague, it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard.
But how do you teach someone what form of an adjective to use? Give them the rules, and then have them practice over and over and over. When I think back to the 5th grade, I remember how frustrating this was. Our teacher, Mrs. Ramsey, had hundreds and hundreds of worksheets about comparatives and superlatives. This was her idea of a fun time filler when we missed recess because of rain. Mrs. Ramsey was old. She had vintage ideas about what was fun.
But as always in English grammar, there are rules that can make the distinction easier. They involve the number of syllables in the basic adjective the number of vowels and consonants, whether or not the word ends with y. I am way past the point in my life where I want to learn rules. So here’s two simple rules that may be easier than the gambit of others.
Comparatives are used to show the difference between 2 objects. When using a comparative, always follow it with the word “than”.
Superlatives show the difference between more than 2 objects. When using a superlative, always precede it with the word “the”.
Let’s try this out.
|Big||Bigger than||The biggest|
|Young||Younger than||The youngest|
Try as many as you want, it works!!
|tall||taller than||the tallest|
|happy||happier than||the happiest|
|good||better than||the best|
|many||more than||the most|
|beautiful||more beautiful than||the most beautiful|
Great, isn’t it? So simple! It doesn’t matter how many syllables, vowels or consonants. And it even works on the abnormal ones that don’t fit the other rules.
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