The form of an adjective or adverb used to compare two or more things. English comparatives are formed with the suffixes -er/-est or the words more/most.

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44
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5answers
189k views

“More clear” vs “Clearer”: when to use “more” instead of “-er”?

Which one of these adjectives is correct? I can see that both of them are being used, I'm just not sure which one is grammatically correct. Are there any general rules to follow as to the use of one ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

Are the rules regarding absolute modifiers too absolute?

A common grammar lesson that was taught to me in the US and that I've had to teach abroad in EFL classrooms is that we're not to use adverbs of emphasis with absolute modifiers, just as we're not ...
10
votes
2answers
13k views

What are sentences like “the longer X, the more Y” called and can they be used in formal written English?

What is the type of sentence exemplified below called? Is it appropriate to use it in a scientific paper and formal written English in general? 1. The more pronounced the variation, the more the ...
10
votes
1answer
402 views

“not as” versus “less”

English speakers seem to prefer "less powerful" over "not as powerful", and "not as big" over "less big". There's at least a ten-to-one ratio in both cases—See this Google Ngram. There also seems to ...
6
votes
7answers
5k views

Use of the superlative when only two items are present

When speaking with my mother a couple of days ago, I read to her a message I was sending to my cousin on her behalf ending with: "... the birthday of your youngest." [implying her child] She ...
14
votes
6answers
15k views

“Like something more” or “like something better”

When people like something more than something else, it's common for me to hear them say they like it better than something else. Is this proper English? I've always thought the word more fits better, ...
10
votes
4answers
24k views

“Much more easy” versus “much easier”

My mom and I are having a dispute on much more easy versus much easier. For example, consider the sentence: It's [much more easy]/[much easier] to do action X than action Y. I say that much ...
7
votes
3answers
16k views

Conundrum: “cleverer” or “more clever”, “simpler” or “more simple” etc

I know the rule for making the comparative and superlative form for two-syllable words ending in y, replace the -y with i and use -er and -est : hap.py → happier → (the) happiest ti.dy → tidier → ...
12
votes
2answers
652 views

Does English have half-graded antonyms?

In a recent question about comparatives, a dispute arose in the comments about gradable antonyms like useful/useless where English speakers strongly prefer to use comparative forms only for half of ...
3
votes
6answers
864 views

“More perfect” versus “less imperfect”

"More perfect" is presumably bad English (Preamble to the US Constitution notwithstanding), since something is either perfect (and thus can't be improved) or not. "Less imperfect", however, seems ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Are there any “-nk-” or “-nc-” words in English where there isn't a “ng” before the “k” sound?

In words like think and lank, we actually seem to be saying "thing-k" and "lang-k." Can anyone thing-k of any words or rules for sound use where this doesn't happen?
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Increasingly + positive or increasingly + comparative?

For instance, would you rather say "It became increasingly hard" or "It became increasingly harder"? From my understanding, both are possible, but their meaning is slightly different. The first ...
3
votes
3answers
18k views

Is there a difference between “quicker” and “more quickly”

This is a follow up to this question: What is the difference between "quicker" and "faster"? "Quicker" is an adverb, as are "more" (in this context) and "quickly". So is there a ...
14
votes
12answers
13k views

What is the difference between “quicker” and “faster”?

What is the correct word to use here and why: I will get there quicker [than you] vs. I will get there faster [than you] There must be similar adverbs for "slower".
8
votes
4answers
7k views

“Lower number” vs. “smaller number”

Is −9 a smaller number than −8? And is −9 a lower number than −8? What is the difference between lower and smaller here?
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Smaller vs. less vs. lesser

I am confused as to some of the vocabulary that can be used to compare numbers and quantities, and would very much appreciate some clarification. I suppose it is safe to say that 1 is smaller than ...
2
votes
3answers
13k views

What is the correct usage of 'worse' and 'worst'?

I've noticed a lot of people who, according to the way I was taught, misuse the words 'worse' and 'worst'. The way I understand it, 'worse' is for comparisons, and 'worst' is the superlative. But more ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Usage and correctness of the term “Better than Best”

I have heard the term "Better than Best" used at few places. How is it different than saying just "best"? For example : a) He is better than the best. b) He is the best. 1) How are (a) and (b) ...
1
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2answers
2k views

Is there a comparative form of the word “different?” [closed]

Does the adjective "different" have a comparative form? If so what is it?
7
votes
3answers
5k views

Is “very less” correct English?

Is using very less correct English? My friend suggests it should be very little. Are they both correct, or is there a difference?
22
votes
6answers
2k views

Phrase: “Colder than a witch’s kiss!”

The following was used in a radio broadcast (The Adventures of Harry Lime, 14th December 1951, episode 20 “An Old Moorish Custom”) as Harry was hit on the back of his head with a rifle butt by a giant ...
4
votes
2answers
681 views

Comparative adverbs

"Officially" (or so I believe) English doesn't have comparative adverbs (a single word rather than "more" + an adverb), but faster is in common usage as one, for example: Do it faster When ...
2
votes
2answers
557 views

Justification of “more perfect” [closed]

I've just read this interesting article. We were being constantly told back in school years that we couldn't use "more" to modify "perfect". I kept feeling guilty using "more perfect" until I read ...
2
votes
1answer
355 views

Am I right using “as” for equality and “than” to point out differences?

I would like to know whether I am right when I use "as" meaning: similar, equal or equivalent, and the comparative, "than", to point out a difference between the nouns.
4
votes
0answers
240 views

Etymology Moderne of … “sick”, “bad”, and words we hardly consider being the opposite any more [closed]

Somewhat prosaically, it was stated that the origin (or at least the coining practice likely used) of the word "sick" to mean "awesome", or "cool", or "astounding" ... itself used the word "cool", ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

two times or twice

In the 1980’s the rate of increase of the minority population of the United States was nearly twice as fast as it was in the 1970’s. In the 1980’s the rate of increase of the minority population of ...
3
votes
4answers
458 views

Describing event with “greatest” date value

I'm struggling with a way to describe one of a series of datetime values that has the greatest value. My first thought would be to call it the "latest", but the suggests that the event is in the ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

What are the comparative and superlative forms of 'lively'?

My teacher taught me that to form the comparative and superlative degrees of a mono- or di- or tri-syllabic word, I should add 'more' and 'most', e.g.: lively -more lively-most lively I know ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

The meaning of “no more … than”

These two attitudes are no more contradictory than those two. Which of the following interpretations is right (or give me a better one if possible): Relatively, these two attitudes are not ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Comparative and superlative adverbs?

I'm a native speaker of English, and I don't know how many times I've wanted to say "happilier" instead of "more happily", or "happiliest" instead of "most happily". Is there any record of such ...
1
vote
2answers
577 views

Does a comparative always need to compare with something?

As I understand it, comparatives compare with something. So something that is colder is more cold than another thing. However, can't a word like colder be used as an adjective without being compared ...
0
votes
1answer
631 views

Explaining the comparative form of “numb” [closed]

The most common definition I have of numb is: "Deprived of the power of sensation." "Deprived of feeling or responsiveness." These definitions show up in nearly the same form in multiple ...