Questions tagged [comparatives]

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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142
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4answers
770k 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 ...
27
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6answers
4k 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 ...
26
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4answers
327k 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 → (...
16
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1answer
2k 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 ...
8
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7answers
18k 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 ...
38
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5answers
8k views

When should “farther” and “further” be used?

I know I learned the difference between the usage of farther and further in school, but I can never remember where each one should be used. Can someone help me out here?
10
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3answers
120k 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
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4answers
122k 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 easier ...
4
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6answers
3k 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 ...
14
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2answers
1k 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 ...
24
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7answers
86k 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, ...
19
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16answers
63k views

A word that means 'most important'?

I tried to find a single word that means "most important", but I couldn't. I want it to be able to express what's missing below: If you get hurt, the _ thing to do is to stay calm. It would need ...
16
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4answers
35k views

Speak Slower or Speak Slowlier?

AFAIK the correct grammar for "speak slow" is "speak slowly" (slowly being an adverb). Please correct me if I am mistaken. But in daily life I have not heard anyone saying "Speak slowlier". I think ...
14
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4answers
51k 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. ...
20
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12answers
58k 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".
13
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6answers
45k 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?
7
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4answers
9k 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 ...
7
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4answers
30k 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 ...
9
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3answers
2k views

Late “latter” last

PREMISE: I am not asking about the difference in meaning or usage between latter and later; it is, therefore, not a duplicate of the older question: what is the difference between later and latter? ...
2
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3answers
8k views

The phrase “more sharp” vs “sharper”

So I was talking to my fiancee and she said "more sharp" to which I said "you mean sharper?". This is in context of talking about her current earrings being "more sharp" then her usual ones. She then ...
2
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2answers
19k 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) ...
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2answers
12k views

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

Does the adjective "different" have a comparative form? If so what is it?
0
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1answer
615 views

not so much [adjective] as [other adjective]

I know that the construction "It is not so much funny as interesting" is valid if I want to talk about something that is both funny and interesting, but with an element of comparison. Is it still ...
-3
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1answer
271 views

“leave immediately, sooner if possible”

In the series Shameless.US, S06E10, an actress utters "leave immediately, sooner if possible". Is this idiomatic? I'd like to know why sooner refers to.
7
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3answers
25k views

Differences between “audio” and “sound”?

What is the difference between "audio" and "sound"? Is it possible that a beeping noise could be considered one but not the other?
13
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5answers
12k views

Morbid curiosity about “more better”

I have a grammatical question regarding one of the worst pieces of grammar imaginable. One of my students made the argument that better things could be considered a single item. Is it possible for the ...
13
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4answers
46k 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?
5
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3answers
15k views

Is it correct to use the comparative adjective “blacker?”

You can find bluer, redder, greener, and whiter in the dictionary, but not blacker. This seems mystifying. In his "El Paso" song, Marty Robbins sang, "Blacker than night were the eyes of Felina." ...
7
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5answers
45k views

What is the opposite of “Could you talk a little louder”?

In a conversation, when I don't hear someone, I usually say: Could you talk a little louder please? However, what should I say if: Someone is being very loud in the other room when talking on ...
6
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4answers
15k views

Is using “more correct” a grammatical faux pas?

I caught myself saying "to be more correct", is this strictly possible given that something is usually correct or incorrect. If this is a grammatical faux pas, what is it called?
10
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1answer
3k views

Why is my English “worlds better” than yours but never “the best by worlds”?

In speech when making comparisons we can say: It is far better than It's way better than It's miles better than It's worlds better than For instance, British restaurant food is far/way/...
5
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2answers
2k 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 ...
4
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2answers
129k views

Comparative or superlative use of the word “far”

Which sentence is correct? The quarterback threw the ball farthest than anyone else on the team. The quarterback threw the ball farther than anyone else on the team. The quarterback threw the ball ...
4
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2answers
5k 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 more ...
4
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1answer
4k 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 ...
3
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2answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
196 views

Comparative adjectives in general, stand-alone use (meaning slightly)

Can a comparative adjective mean 'slightly', 'kind of', without actually referring to another term? The understanding of longer texts is necessary for an C1 certificate. Meaning that you need to ...
2
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3answers
186 views

What do “the more” and “the less” modify in “The more our knowledge of things is certain and particular, the less it is possible for us to feign”?

The following is an excerpt from The Young Spinoza: A Metaphysician in the Making. (1) The more our knowledge of things is certain and particular, the less it is possible for us to feign; What do ...
9
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5answers
7k views

Use of “The better”?

Disclamer: English isn't my first language. I learned during my English courses (a few years ago), that there is, as in French (which is my first language), a comparative and superlative version for ...
6
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4answers
7k views

Is 'uniquer' a word?

My spellcheck doesn't complain about 'uniquer'. Is it a valid word? Since unique means "one of a kind", 'uniquer' has no valid definition, but that doesn't prevent it from being a valid dictionary ...
5
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1answer
2k views

Why do superlative adverbs sometimes use 'the'?

"He ran the fastest." 'the fastest' is an adverb here, not a noun, so why does it use the definite article 'the'? We could say "He ran fastest", and that works fine too. If we say "He is the fastest ...
5
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5answers
3k 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 past,...
4
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0answers
346 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
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4answers
3k views

Comparative or superlative to describe a quality of a member of a set of two things?

For example, 'he's the bigger of the two guards' or 'he's the biggest of the two guards'? The comparative indicates that something is bigger/more difficult than another member. If there's only two ...
3
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1answer
983 views

Rules for single-word comparatives and superlatives [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “More clear” vs “Clearer”, when to use “more” instead of “-er” Are there any rules for which words are allowed to have -er and -...
2
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1answer
1k views

“Twice (adj.)-er” vs. “two times (adj.)-er” vs. “twice/two times as (adj.) as”

Suppose we are comparing a particular characteristic (that takes comparative -er) of two items, A and B. Compared to B, A displays double that characteristic. There are multiple ways we can express ...
2
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2answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Much more/ much less

There is a question in our grammar book that goes like this: Her husband, a plumber's assistant, earns only 300 dollars a month, which makes it very difficult for her to feed and clothe her ...
1
vote
1answer
5k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
307 views

The rhetorical effect of “no more … than” construction

The following is a part of the section 15.70 of A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Longman). Rachel is no more courageous than Saul(is). The sentence implies that both ...