My interest in English grammar began because of learning about the rules of grammar while learning Latin. In inter-language dictionaries, it's common to mention the declension of nouns, conjugation of verbs, etc.

In English, however, I'm often hard pressed for a source to turn to when I want to know what the past participle of a verb or the comparative of an adjective is. I frequently turn to the Oxford English Dictionary, and it is occasionally useful (there is a nice note about the comparative and superlative of little), but it doesn't appear to be at all consistent (there is no mention of the comparative and superlative forms of stupid).

Are there better sources for this information?

  • No dictionary I know of would waste valuable space giving regular plurals, comparatives, superlatives, etc. And if there was one, I certainly wouldn't buy it. The standard rules are simple enough - just learn them once and assume they apply unless anything says different. Commented Aug 8, 2011 at 2:26
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    @FumbleFingers sorry, I was thinking only about online dictionaries, where space isn't really a concern. And what do you do when there is no standard rule? Like for the comparative of a two-syllable adjective? Sure, forming the comparative/superlative has few irregularities, but when the standard rule is '-er/-est for 1 syllable; more/most for 3 or more syllables', the rule itself is an irregularity for two-syllable words.
    – rubergly
    Commented Aug 8, 2011 at 2:52
  • Well on that basis you probably don't need any more references. I've got by all my life without conciously knowing that "three-syllable" rule. I doubt I've often transgressed it, but I might have done. You won't, because you know the rule (which is not two, it's just one. Optionally replace more/most with er/est if less than three syllables). Commented Aug 8, 2011 at 3:32
  • @rubergly Perhaps you are thinking of a usage dictionary, such as Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage? I don't think it has detailed declension/inflection tables, but it does list irregularities, such as which prepositions collocate with an intransitive verb (do you agree on or agree about something?), and whether phrases like "hone in" are acceptable. Some learner's dictionaries list irregular inflections, too.
    – Ted Broda
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 18:06
  • @FumbleFingers, that's the helpfulest comment I see here!
    – dmk
    Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 0:45

2 Answers 2


My best recommendation is Wiktionary.org, which contains forms, pronunciations, even anagrams.

  • My main concern is consistency. From your experience, is wiktionary consistent with this info?
    – rubergly
    Commented Aug 8, 2011 at 3:00
  • Yes, it is consistent. Additionally, it usually gives links so, if you are unsure, you can verify
    – Thursagen
    Commented Aug 8, 2011 at 6:50

Yes, I think there are some reliable dictionaries that help us to know the word's resources, such as my preferred one, Word Web!

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    Can you give us a link to that? It sounds like an on-line resource. Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 17:47

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