Often we face situations in which we want to compare things using gradable expressions. What are the words we can use to help us? They are called comparatives. This is the first of six High English grammar quizzes that focus on comparatives. Let's start with some examples:
‘Trupti is MORE BEAUTIFUL than Arpana.’
‘Arpana is not AS BEAUTIFUL AS Trupti.’
‘Arpana is CLEVERER than Trupti.’
'Arpana dances MORE GRACEFULLY than Trupti.’
In all these sentences we notice that a comparison is made between two girls. The words in capitals are the words that tell us about the comparison. We also notice that both adjectives (beautiful, clever) and adverbs (gracefully) are used to show the comparison. Such words are known as COMPARATIVES and they are used as gradable expressions to compare.
We also note another difference in the use of these words. In the ‘beautiful’ example we have used ‘more’ before the adjective and in the ‘cleverer’ example we have added -ER to CLEVER to form the word CLEVERER.
As with all parts of grammar, there is a correct way of using comparatives. Generally, we add ER for adjectives and adverbs which do not end in 'E', (tall-tallER), R for adjectives and adverbs which do end in 'E' (simple-simpleR, late-lateR) and IER for adjectives and adverbs ending with Y (dry-drIER). As is the case in English, we do have irregular forms for which we do not have a general rule (good-BETTER, bad-WORSE).
Gradable expressions, or comparisons, are required to compare attributes such as size, shape, weight, feelings, actions, intensity, quantity and quality. Comparisons are required to show how different one is from another. Comparisons are required to express choices. Comparisons are required to express attitudes and assumptions. English is a very expressive language and it is made more expressive by the use of comparatives and the following quiz on English grammar gives you an overview of how to use comparatives in sentences.