English Grammar

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Adjectives: Degrees of Comparison

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We notice that :
1. Ajay is tall.
2. Vijay is taller than Ajay.
3. Rajesh is the tallest of the three.
Here, the words 'tall', 'taller', and 'tallest' are adjectives. They are the different forms of the adjective 'tall'.
We use 'tall' when we don't compare Ajay with anyone.
Example :
Ajay is tall.
We use 'taller' when we compare two persons : Ajay and Vijay
Example :
Vijay is taller than Ajay.
We use 'tallest' when we compare more than two persons.
Rajesh is the tallest of the three.
  • Thus, we see that adjectives can show comparison between two or more people, animals or things.
There are three degrees of comparison :
1. Positive
2. Comparative
3. Superlative

POSITIVE DEGREE
The positive degree of an adjective is used when no comparison is made.
Examples :
1. Veena is young.
2. The green box is large.
Notice that here, we are not comparing 'Veena' with any other person or the 'box' with any other box.
This degree is used when we talk about one person or thing only.

COMPARATIVE DEGREE
The comparative degree of an adjective is used when we compare two persons or things.
Examples :
1. Juhi is younger than Reena.
2. The red box is larger than the green box.
This degree is used with two persons or two groups of persons or things.

SUPERLATIVE DEGREE
The superlative degree is used when we compare more than two persons or things.
Examples :
1. Nita is the youngest of all her sisters.
2. The black box is the largest of all the boxes in my house.
This degree is used with more than two persons or things or more than two groups of persons or things.

FORMATION OF THE COMPARATIVE AND SUPERLATIVE DEGREES
  • In case of most adjectives, we add '-er' and '-est' to the positive degree to form the comparative and superlative degrees respectively.


Examples :
Positive Comparative Superlative
near nearer nearest
young younger youngest

  • In case of adjectives ending in 'e', we add 'r' and '-st' to form comparatives and superlatives.

Examples :
Positive Comparative Superlative
fine finer finest
noble nobler noblest

  • In case of adjectives ending in consonant +y, we change 'y' into '-ier' and '-iest' to form the comparatives and superlatives.

Examples :

Positive Comparative Superlative
heavy heavier heaviest
pretty prettier prettiest

  • For small words with single consonant at the end, we double the consonant and add '-er' and '-est' to form the comparatives and superlatives.

Examples :
Positive Comparative Superlative
big bigger biggest
sad sadder saddest

  • For some adjectives, we use 'more' and 'most' along with the adjectives to form comparatives and superlatives.

Positive Comparative Superlative
interesting more interesting most interesting
intelligent more intelligent most intelligent
beautiful more beautiful most beautiful
tired more tired most tired
boring more boring most boring
thoughtful more thoughtful most thoughtful
courageous more courageous most courageous
courageous more courageous most courageous
enjoyable more enjoyable most enjoyable

  • Some adjectives do not follows these rules.

Positive Comparative Superlative
good better best
bad worse worst
little less least
many,much more most
old older oldest
far farther,further farthest,furthest
late later,latter latest,last
A. Write the comparative and superlative degrees of the following adjectives.
1. tall
2. wide
3. bright
4. short
5. many
6. heavy
7. mad
8. young
9. dirty
10. bad
11. important
12. fine
13. good
14. difficult
15. ugly



USING THE DEGREES OF COMPARISON
Positive degree
  • It can be used when we are suggesting that two persons or things are equal in certain aspects.
Example :
Meena is as tall as Gauri.
For suggesting equality, we use 'as ......... as'.
Example :
The girl is as innocent as a lamb.

B. Use 'as ..... as' and make sentences using the following hints.
1. The boy - naughty - a monkey ..............................................
2. Sachin - bright - his father .............................................
3. Jyoti - busy - a bee ...............................................
4. Vishal - intelligent - Shyam ..............................................
5. Bhanu - tall - Jia ..............................................

Comparative Degree
  • It is used when we are comparing two things, persons or animals.
Example :
Aeroplane is bigger than a helicopter.
With comparative degree, we use 'than'.

C. Using the following hints, write the sentences in comparative degree.
1. Suhana - intelligent - Tia ...............................................
2. Tanu - pretty - Swati ........................................................
3. Air journey - comfortable - train journey ....................................................
4. Gold - expensive - silver .....................................................
5. Today - warm - yesterday ........................................................

Superlative Degree
  • It is used when we are comparing more than two things.
Example :
Suhana is the tallest girl in the class.
With superlative degree, we use 'the'.

D. Use the following hints and write the sentences in superlative degree.
1. Blue whale - large animal - on earth
.............................................................
2. Mount Everest - high peak - in the world
......................................................................
3. Venus - hot planet - in the solar system
.................................................................
4. Himani - bright girl - in our class
........................................................
5. Jyoti - good singer - in school
....................................................

E. Read the following and answer the question.
Arti has 10 kg flour and 2 litre milk.
Seema has 5 kg flour and 3 litre milk.
Ishmita has 2 kg flour and 5 litre milk.
1. Who has the largest quantity of flour ? ................................................................
2. Who has the largest quantity of milk ? .................................................................
3. Who has more flour, Seema or Ishmita ? .............................................................
4. Who has the least quantity of flour ? ....................................................................
5. Who has less quantity of milk, Arti or Seema ? ...............................................................

F. Fill in the blanks with the correct degree of adjectives given in the brackets.
1. Raman is the .................................................. singer in the school. (good)
2. A giraffe is .................................................. than an elephant. (tall)
3. Today it is ................................................... than it was yesterday. (cold)
4. This is a .................................................... book. (good)
5. Maaya has ..................................................... friends in school. (many)
6. Your handwriting has become ...................................................... than it was earlier. (bad)
7. She is ............................................................ than her sister. (smart)
8. Swati is the ....................................................... girl in the school. (smart)
9. This work is ........................................................... than that. (important)
10. Today is the ............................................................. day of the season. (cold)

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