The previous five High English grammar quizzes on comparatives have concentrated on the way to use comparatives and superlatives and how adjectives and adverbs are converted into comparatives and superlatives. This final quiz on comparatives will show you how to go about avoiding errors whilst using them.
When using comparatives we could be committing some basic errors, which may relate to grammar or context. Look at this sentence:
‘The population of India is less than China.’
Did you notice anything wrong? You may feel the sentence is all right but on closer examination we can see something is amiss. If you look at the first part of the sentence, it clearly says ‘population of India’ whereas the second part of the sentence just says ‘lesser than China.’ How can we go about avoiding these errors? Here are some correct versions of the same sentence:
‘The population of India is less than China’s population.’
‘The population of India is less than that of China.’
The populations of the two countries are being compared and hence the reference to population must be made in the case of both countries. Let us look at another example:
‘Gold is more valuable than any other metals.’
This sentence is incorrect because in comparative sentences we should use a singular noun after ‘any other’. The correct sentence would be:
‘Gold is more valuable than any other metal.’
Several other conventions need to be followed. Only an adjective or adverb in the comparative degree can be used before ‘than’. For instance, the sentence ‘Bangalore is cold than Mumbai’ is incorrect and the correct sentence would be ‘Bangalore is colder than Mumbai.’
More often than not, we tend to make mistakes by using the comparative form when there is no need to or when a comparison is not implied. For instance, ‘in our office the number of female employees is less’ is a wrong usage as there is no implied comparison. Thus, the correct usage would be ‘in our office the number of female employees is small.’
The quiz on grammar that follows helps you to learn how to go about avoiding some of the most common errors that people often make when using comparatives and superlatives.