Update: 2016-09-20 12:05 AM -0400


English Grammar in Plain Language


by U Kyaw Tun (UKT), M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning).
Based on Barrons Educational Series, Grammar In Plain English, by Diamond, H. and Dutwin, P., Barrons Educational Series, Inc., Woodbury, New York. Copyright 1977. Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL Research Station, Yangon, MYANMAR : 
http://www.tuninst.net , www.romabama.blogspot.com

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Using Descriptive Words Correctly
01. Descriptive Words: Using Comparison
     Exercise 0101

UKT notes
comparison comparative superlative

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Using Descriptive Words Correctly

01. Descriptive Words: Using Comparison

For comparing two or more persons, things, or events (all of which are nouns, N), we use what are described in grammar as comparatives and superlatives . These descriptive words (Adj.) sometimes do not follow a pattern (irregular), but most of the time they do (regular). Consider how to compare the students in a class.

bad,  worse,  worst
good,  better,  best

UKT: the following examples are mine:
She is a bad student.
He is worse than she. (Comparing two - comparative)
Of the whole class, that boy is the worst. (Comparing one against two or more - superlative)

However, many descriptive words follow one of the two patterns. First, consider the following pattern:

Mr. Smith built a tall fence.
Mr. Jones built a taller fence.
Mr. White built the tallest fence of the three.

Tall is a descriptive word which describes fence. Taller is another descriptive word, and it compares the two fences one built by Mr. Smith and the other by Mr. Jones. Tallest is used when more than two are compared.

As you have seen in the above sentences, -er is added to a descriptive word to show a comparison between two people or things; -est is added to a descriptive word to show a comparison among more than two people or things. This is the general rule for comparison of descriptive words. Study the examples below:

fast,  faster,  fastest
green,  greener,  greenest
near,  nearer,  nearest
pretty,  prettier,  prettiest
rude,  ruder,  rudest
shrewd,  shrewder,  shrewdest
small,  smaller,  smallest
soon,  sooner,  soonest
spicy,  spicier,  spiciest
stout,  stouter,  stoutest

Comparison in Burmese is simpler than in English and follows a regular pattern:

U:pu. a.rp pu. //
U:mhn U:pu. htak a.rp mring. //
U:mrin. ka. a:lon: ht: mha a.rp a.rh hson: hrpic //

Direct translations of the sentences give us:

U Pu is short.
U Mhan is taller  than U Pu.
Of the three, U Myint is the tallest.

Many descriptive words sound awkward when -er or -est is added. These words use more instead of -er and most instead of -est when making a comparison. Study the examples below:

beautiful,  more beautiful,  most beautiful
difficult,  more difficult,  most difficult
enormous,  more enormous,  most enormous
legible,  more legible,  most legible
quickly,  more quickly,  most quickly
sympathetic,  more sympathetic,  most sympathetic
tenacious,  more tenacious,  most tenacious
torrid,  more torrid,  most torrid
variable,  more variable,  most variable
wonderful,  more wonderful,  most wonderful

UKT: There is really no way how to remember the endings of comparatives and superlatives in English.

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Exercise 0101

Complete the pattern in each of the following sentences by adding the proper form of one of the descriptive words below (note that the answer may vary):

boring,  good,  high,  long,  magnificent  

1. This is the _____ meeting Ive ever attended.

This is the best meeting I've ever attended
This is the longest meeting I've ever attended.
This is the most boring meeting I've ever attended.

2. We chose the _____ day of the summer for our office picnic.

We chose the best day of the summer for our office picnic.
We chose the most magnificent day of the summer for our office picnic.

3. Mr. Valdez is one of the _____ people I know.

Mr. Valdez is one of the best people I know.
Mr. Valdez is one of the most boring people I know.
Mr. Valdez is one of the most magnificent people I know.

4. Ricky works _____ than anyone else in the plant.

Ricky works better than anyone else in the plant.
Ricky works longer than anyone else in the plant.

5. Our plants grew _____ this year than last year.

Our plants grew better this year than last year.
Our plants grew higher this year than last year.

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UKT notes


Form: LBH
The form of an adverb or adjective that shows its degree of quality or amount.
The positive degree is the simple, uncompared form:
     gross / shyly  
The comparative degree compares the thing modified to at least one other thing:
     grosser /  more shyly 
The superlative degree indicates that the thing modified exceeds all other things to which it is being compared:
     grossest / most shyly  
The comparative and superlative degrees are formed either with the endings -er and -est or with the words more and most, less and least. (See pp. 35253.)

Go back comparison-note-b

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From: UseE
The comparative is the form of an adjective or adverb used to compare two things. To create a comparative, remember that with short adjectives add -er to the end, and longer ones use more before the adjective:
     The Nile is longer than the Amazon.
          -- Long >> Longer
     Many students find writing more difficult than reading.
          -- Difficult >> More Difficult

From: AHTD
adj. Abbr. comp. compar. 1. Relating to, based on, or involving comparison. 2. Estimated by comparison; relative: a comparative newcomer. 3. Grammar Of, relating to, or being the intermediate degree of comparison of adjectives, as better, sweeter, or more wonderful, or adverbs, as more softly. 4. Linguistics a. Of or relating to the synchronic typological comparison of languages. b. Of or relating to the comparison of languages descended from a common ancestor: comparative historical linguistics. n. Grammar 1. The comparative degree. 2. An adjective or adverb expressing the comparative degree.

Go back comparative-note-b

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From: UseE
The Superlative is the form of an adjective or adverb that shows which thing has that quality above or below the level of the others. There must be three or more to use the superlative. It takes the definite article and short adjectives add -est and longer ones take 'most':
     Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
     It is the most expensive restaurant I've ever been to.

adj. 3. Abbr. sup. Grammar Of, relating to, or being the extreme degree of comparison of an adjective or adverb, as in best or brightest. n. 1. Something of the highest possible excellence. 2. The highest degree; the acme. 3. Abbr. sup. Grammar a. The superlative degree. b. An adjective or adverb expressing the superlative degree, as in brightest, the superlative of the adjective bright, or most brightly, the superlative of the adverb brightly. [Middle English superlatif  from Old French from Late Latin superlātīvus from Latin superlātus , past participle of superferre to carry over a person or thing, exaggerate super- super- lātus , past participle of ferre to carry; See tel - in Indo-European Roots.]

Go back superlative-note-b

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