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Degrees of Comparison

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.

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