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How to Use Comparative Adjectives and Adverbs Correctly

use comparative adjectives and adverbs correctly
How to Use Comparative Adjectives and Adverbs Correctly

The use of comparative adjectives and adverbs is an essential aspect of the English language.

They are used to compare two or more things in terms of their qualities, characteristics, or actions. So, correct usage is crucial for effective communication and conveying precise meaning. In contrast, incorrect usage can lead to misunderstandings and ambiguity in meaning. Sometimes the rules for using comparative adjectives and adverbs depend on the number of syllables in the word. One-syllable words typically use “-er”, while two-syllable words can use either “-er” or “more”. Three-syllable words always use “more”. However, sometimes to show equality, we use “as”.

I. Introduction

(Explanation of comparative adjectives and adverbs, Importance of using them correctly in the English language)

Comparative adjectives and adverbs are used to compare two or more things in terms of their qualities, characteristics or actions. They are often used to show the degree of difference between two or more items or actions. For example, read the following sentences for a better understanding:

  • Mary is taller than Jane.
  • John runs faster than Peter.

In these sentences, “taller” and “faster” are comparative adjectives that show the degree of difference between two people’s heights and two people’s running speeds respectively.

Similarly, comparative adverbs are used to compare the manner in which an action is performed. For example:

  • He sings more beautifully than his sister.
  • She dances more gracefully than her friends.

In these sentences, “more beautifully” and “more gracefully” are comparative adverbs that show the degree of difference between the way two people perform a particular action.

Some tips for using comparative adjectives and adverbs correctly are given below:

  • Use “than” after the comparative adjective or adverb. For example, “He is smarter than his brother” or “She sings better than her friends”.
  • Use “the” before the comparative adjective or adverb if it is a specific comparison. For example, “This car is the faster of the two” or “This book is the more interesting of the two”.
  • Use “as…as” to show that two items or actions are equal in degree. For example, “This room is as big as that one” or “He works as hard as his colleague”.

II. Comparative Adjectives

(Definition of comparative adjectives, Formation of comparative adjectives, Usage of comparative adjectives, Examples of comparative adjectives)

Comparative adjectives are used to compare two or more things in terms of a particular quality or characteristic. They are used to express the degree of difference between two items. For example, consider the following sentence:

  • My car is faster than your car.

In this sentence, “faster” is a comparative adjective used to compare the speed of two cars.

Formation of comparative adjectives is usually done by adding “-er” to the end of the adjective. For example:

  • Big – Bigger
  • Fast – Faster
  • Strong – Stronger

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example:

  • Good – Better
  • Bad – Worse
  • Far – Further/Farther (both forms are correct)

To use comparative adjectives correctly, we need to follow a few rules:

  1. Use “than” after the comparative adjective.
  • Her house is bigger than mine.
  1. Use “the” before the comparative adjective if it is a specific comparison.
  • This cake is the sweeter of the two.
  1. Use “as…as” to show that two items or actions are equal in degree.
  • This room is as big as that one.

Some examples of comparative adjectives are as follows:

  • She is taller than him.
  • The blue dress is prettier than the red one.
  • This phone is more expensive than that one.
  • His handwriting is neater than hers.
  • The coffee tastes better than the tea.

III. Comparative Adverbs

(Definition of comparative adverbs, Formation of comparative adverbs, Usage of comparative adverbs, Examples of comparative adverbs)

Comparative adverbs are used to compare two or more actions in terms of how they are performed. They are used to express the degree of difference between two actions. For example, see the following sentence:

  • She sings more beautifully than he does.

In this sentence, “more beautifully” is a comparative adverb used to compare how two people sing.

Formation of comparative adverbs is usually done by adding “-er” to the end of the adverb. For example:

  • Slowly – More slowly
  • Quietly – More quietly
  • Carefully – More carefully

However, there are some irregular forms of comparative adverbs, such as:

  • Well – Better
  • Badly – Worse
  • Far – Further/Farther (both forms are correct)

We need to follow a few rules:

  1. Use “than” after the comparative adverb.
  • She writes more neatly than he does.
  1. Use “the” before the comparative adverb if it is a specific comparison.
  • This cake is baked more perfectly than that one.
  1. Use “as…as” to show that two actions are equal in degree.
  • He can run as fast as his brother.

Some examples of comparative adverbs include:

  • She sings more loudly than he does.
  • He types more quickly than she does.
  • The students listen more attentively than the teachers do.
  • The dog barks more loudly than the cat does.
  • She dances more gracefully than her friends.

IV. Rules for Comparative Adjectives and Adverbs

(One-syllable adjectives and adverbs, Two-syllable adjectives and adverbs, Adjectives and adverbs with three or more syllables, Exceptions to the rules)

One-syllable adjectives and adverbs form their comparatives by adding “-er” to the end of the word. For example:

  • Big – Bigger
  • Fast – Faster
  • Hot – Hotter

Exceptions:

  • Some one-syllable adjectives and adverbs take “more” instead of “-er” such as “more fun” and “more fast”.

Two-syllable adjectives and adverbs can form their comparatives in two ways:

  1. By adding “-er” to the end of the word, similar to one-syllable words. For example:
  • Clever – Cleverer
  • Simple – Simpler
  • Narrow – Narrower
  1. By using “more” before the adjective or adverb. For example:
  • More famous – More famously
  • More clever – More cleverly
  • More stupid – More stupidly

Exceptions:

  • Some two-syllable words always use “more” such as “more modern”, “more pleasant”.

Adjectives and adverbs with three or more syllables form their comparatives by using “more” before the word. For example:

  • Beautiful – More beautiful
  • Careful – More careful
  • Comfortable – More comfortable

Exceptions:

  • Some adjectives with three or more syllables have irregular comparatives such as “good – better” and “bad – worse”.

When comparing two things that are equal in some way, we use “as…as”. For example:

  • The dog is as big as the cat.
  • She sings as well as her sister.

V. Irregular Comparatives 

(Explanation of irregular comparatives, Examples of irregular comparatives)

Irregular comparatives are a type of comparative adjective or adverb that does not follow the usual rules of adding “-er” or “more” to form the comparative form. Instead, they have unique forms that are often completely different from the base form of the word.

You can further learn from the examples of irregular comparatives which are given below:

  • Good – Better
  • Bad – Worse
  • Little – Less
  • Much/Many – More
  • Far – Further/Farther (both forms are correct)

Let’s look at some more examples of these irregular comparatives in action:

  • This pizza is better than the one we had last week.
  • The weather today is worse than it was yesterday.
  • She has less time to complete the task than she thought she would.
  • We need more money to buy that house.
  • The finish line is further away than we thought it would be.

VI. Using double comparatives or superlatives

(Explanation of double comparatives, Common mistakes to avoid when using double comparatives, Examples of double comparatives)

Double comparatives, also known as redundant or illogical comparatives, are common mistakes that people make when using comparative adjectives or adverbs. It occurs when two comparative forms are used together in the same sentence, which can result in a confusing or unclear message.

Some examples of double comparatives are as follows:

  • He runs faster than I do, but I can run faster than him.
  • This dress is more prettier than that one.
  • She speaks English more fluently than he does, but he speaks it more fluently than her.

As you can see in the examples above, the words “faster than” and “more fluently than” are already comparative forms, so adding “more” to them is redundant and unnecessary.

The following examples will help you to avoid making mistakes with double comparatives

  1. Avoid using “more” or “er” with comparative adjectives and adverbs that already have a comparative form.
  2. Use “as…as” to show that two things are equal. For example, “She is as tall as her brother.”
  3. When using a comparative form in a sentence, make sure that it is clear what is being compared. For example, “This bike is faster than that one” is clearer than “This bike is faster.”

Let’s take a look at some corrected examples of the previous double comparative sentences:

  • He runs faster than I do, but I can run faster than him. → He runs faster than I do, but I can run faster than he can.
  • This dress is more prettier than that one. → This dress is prettier than that one.
  • She speaks English more fluently than he does, but he speaks it more fluently than her. → She speaks English more fluently than he does, but he speaks it more fluently than she does.

VII. Using “than” with Comparative Adjectives and Adverbs

(Explanation of how to use “than” with comparative adjectives and adverbs, Common mistakes to avoid when using “than”, Examples of using “than” with comparative adjectives and adverbs)

“Than” is a word that is often used in English to compare two things using comparative adjectives or adverbs. When using “than” in comparison, it’s important to keep a few things in mind to ensure that the sentence is grammatically correct and clear.

Here’s how to use “than” with comparative adjectives and adverbs:

  1. Use “than” to compare two things. For example, “She is taller than he is.”
  2. Place the comparative adjective or adverb after “than.” For example, “This book is more interesting than that one.”
  3. Use the same grammatical form for both things being compared. For example, if one thing is described using a comparative adjective, the other thing must also be described using a comparative adjective.

Now, let’s look at some common mistakes to avoid when using “than”:

  1. Don’t forget to use the correct form of the comparative adjective or adverb. For example, “She is more taller than he is” is incorrect, as “more taller” is redundant. The correct form is “She is taller than he is.”
  2. Be careful not to mix up comparative and superlative forms. For example, “This is the most interesting book than I have ever read” is incorrect, as “most interesting” is a superlative form. The correct form is “This book is more interesting than that one.”
  3. Make sure that both things being compared are grammatically parallel. For example, “She is taller than her brother is short” is incorrect, as “her brother is short” is not parallel to “She is taller.” The correct form is “She is taller than her brother.”

Let’s look at some examples of using “than” with comparative adjectives and adverbs:

  • John is happier than he was yesterday.
  • This restaurant is more expensive than the one we went to last week.
  • She is more successful than her sister.
  • This city is less crowded than New York.
  • My car is faster than yours.

IX. References

  1. http://www.EnglishPage.com – This website includes a section on comparative adjectives and adverbs with explanations and interactive quizzes.
  2. “Oxford Practice Grammar: Intermediate” by John Eastwood – This book includes exercises and explanations for comparative adjectives and adverbs at an intermediate level.

Written by ARZPAK

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