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Analyzing English Grammar, 6th ed., by Thomas P. Klammer, Muriel R. Schulz, and Angela Della Volpe (Longman, 2009)


One of the forms used in the comparison of adjectives and adverbs: positive (or base form) ("smart"), comparative ("smarter"), or superlative ("smartest").

In most adjectives of two or more syllables, the comparative and superlative degrees are marked by more and most respectively.

See also:


From the Latin, "step"

Examples and Observations:

  • "Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
    (Albert Einstein)

  • "We have the best government that money can buy."
    (Mark Twain)

  • "In some languages, adjectives share the declensions of nouns, inflecting to show gender, number, and case. In English, however, there are only two possible inflections for adjectives, the comparative and the superlative. The adjective comparative and superlative inflections {-er} and {-est} are quite regular, but they can be added only to one- or two-syllable words in English. We have tall, taller, tallest and heavy, heavier, heaviest but not visionary, *visionarier, *visionariest. Adjectives of more than two syllables do not accept inflectional morphemes; for them, entire words, rather than morphological suffixes, are used to indicate the comparative (more visionary) and superlative (most reluctant).

    "Note that the comparative and superlative inflections also appear on a small number of adverbs: He drove longer and faster than anyone else."
    (Thomas P. Klammer et al., Analyzing English Grammar, 5th ed. Pearson, 2007)

  • "Poverty makes you sad as well as wise."
    (Bertolt Brecht)

  • "For all sad words of tongue and pen,
    The saddest are these, 'It might have been.'"
    (John Greenleaf Whittier)

  • "I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."

  • "The most important part of education is proper training in the nursery."

  • "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
    (Albert Einstein)
Pronunciation: di-GREE
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