# comparative/superlative usage

Here's the question my little bro asked me the other day. The price of the vest is _ than the dress or the jacket. A.lower B.the higher C.more expensive D.cheaper To me, ACD seems to all fit but B.

The technically correct answer is A.

This is subtle, and a little nitpicky. The price is the number of dollars you pay for something, and that number has the property of being higher (or lower) than something else. The dress, on the other hand, has the property of expensiveness, and can be more (or less) expensive than something else.

So we say that "The dress is more expensive than the jacket" and "the price of the dress is higher than the jacket" because the dress has a higher price. We do not say "The price of the dress is more expensive". If we said "The price of the dress is more expensive" it would technically mean "I can buy the price for some dollar value, and that dollar value is higher than something else". This could only be true in a situation where finding out the price of the dress cost you some money.

In reality, "The price of the dress is more expensive" is frequently used, and most people are not going to think twice about it.

"the higher" is wrong because straight comparatives don't take articles. (except "the higher of" two things).

• Really technically, I think it would be "the price of the vest is more than the price of the dress" or "the price of the vest is more than that of the dress." I suggest using the verb "cost" -- the vest costs more, the dress costs less. Sep 14, 2015 at 16:58
• Lexical semantics in the commercial transaction frame is always tricky. Cost and price are a case in point. Consider the meanings of free (= costless), priceless, worthless, valueless, and invaluable, for instance. Sep 14, 2015 at 17:26
• you can't compare the price of a dress to a jacket. You need to compare price too price. like "The price of the dress is lower than that of the jacket". Am I right? Sep 15, 2015 at 3:09