Degrees of Comparison are used when we compare one person or one thing with another.
There are three Degrees of Comparison in English.
1. Positive degree.
2. Comparative degree.
3. Superlative degree.
Positive dark tall useful
Comparative darker taller more useful
Superlative darkest tallest most useful
There are two ways of forming the comparative and the superlative:
1) By adding er, est to the positive:
Small smaller smallest
tall taller tallest
2) By means of more and most:
Difficult more difficult most difficult
A) When an adjective of one syllable ends in two consonants or in a single consonant preceded by two vowels, er and est are added:
Positive Comparative Superlative
long longer longest
sweet sweeter sweetest
B) When an adjective of one syllable ends in a single consonant preceded by a short vowel, the consonant is doubled before er, and est:
Hot hotter hottest
Fat fatter fattest
C) When an adjective of one syllable ends in e, only r and st are added:
Brave braver bravest
Wise wiser wisest
D) When an adjective of one syllable ends in y preceded by a consonant, we change the ‘y’ into i before adding er, est:
Happy happier happiest
Merry merrier merriest
Exception: shy, shyer, shyest
E) But is the final Y is preceded by a vowel, we simply add er, est:
Gay gayer gayest
Grey greyer greyest
F) Adjectives of two syllables ending in er, le, y and ow generally form their
comparative and superlative in the same way as the adjectives of one syllable:
clever cleverer cleverest
noble nobler noblest
happy happier happiest
mellow mellower mellowest
II. Adjectives of more than two syllables, and many adjectives of two syllables, form the comparative and superlative by means of more and most.
Awful more awful most awful
Careful more careful most careful
Beautiful more beautiful most beautiful
We can change the degrees of comparison of adjectives and adverbs, without changing the meaning of the sentences.
Examine the following examples:
1) Positive : I am not so/as tall as he.
Comparative : He is taller than I
2) Positive : He is as dull as an ass.
Comparative : An ass is not duller than he is.
3) Superlative : London is the biggest city in the world.
Comparative : London is bigger than any other city in the world.
Positive : No other city in the world is so big as London.
4) Superlative : Subhas Bose was one of the greatest Patriots of India.
Comparative : Subhas Bose was greater than most (many) other patriots of India.
Positive : Very few patriots of India were so great as Subhas Bose.
5) Positive : Some girls in the class are at least as beautiful as Sita.
Comparative : Sita is not more beautiful than some other girls in the class Or
Some girls in the class are not less beautiful than Sita.
Superlative : Sita is not the most beautiful of all the girls in the Class.