Topic outline

    • Degree of Comparison

      Adjectives are words we use to describe a noun or pronoun. It is a word which qualifies (shows how big, small, great, many, few, etc.) a noun or a pronoun is in a sentence.

      Adjectives are usually placed just before the words such as naughty boy, blue umbrella, rotten apple, four coins etc.

      Now read the following sentences:

      1.   Ram is a tall boy.

      2.   Hari is taller than Ram.

      3.   Avi is the tallest of the three.

      The Adjective ‘tall’ is in the Positive Degree. Here adjective is in simple form and represents the presence of some quality in the thing or person we speak about. It simply tells us “how Ram is” and there is no other person or thing in this sentence used to compare Ram with. Positive Degree is used when no comparison is made i.e. when we speak about only one person or thing.

      The Adjective “taller” is said to be in the Comparative Degree. It represents a higher degree of the quality than the Positive. It is used to compare the qualities of two persons or things. Here height of Hari and Ram are compared and shows the difference of quality between the two.

      The Adjective “tallest” is said to be in the Superlative Degree. It represents the highest degree of the quality. It is used when more than two objects are compared.

      So, there are three Degrees of Comparison.

      1. Positive degree.

      2. Comparative degree.

      3. Superlative degree.

      Formation of Comparative and Superlative

      Let’s see how the Adjectives form the Comparative and Superlative:

      Rule 1: The following Adjectives form the Comparative by adding –“er” and Superlative by adding –“est” to the Positive.

      Rule 2: If the Positive ends in “e”, only “r” and “st” are added to form the Comparative and the Superlative.


      Rule 3: If the Positive end in “y” and “y” is preceded by a consonant, the “y” is changed into “i”, before adding “er” and “est”. But if the “y” is preceded by a vowel, then “y” is not changed into “i”.

      But – This is an exception to the above rule.

      Rule 4: If the Positive Degree has only one syllable and ends in one consonant, and the consonant is preceded by a short vowel, this consonant is doubled before adding “er” and “est”.


      Rule 5: Many Adjectives of two syllables, and all Adjectives of the more than two syllables, take “more” before them to form the Comparative and “most” to form the Superlative.

      Rule 6: The following Adjectives are compared irregularly:


            1.   “Than” is used after the Comparative Degree. “The” is used before the Superlative Degree.

            2.   Do not use the Double Comparative and Superlative, such as more better and most loveliest.

            3.   A few Comparative are followed by “to”, instead of than; as, inferior to, superior to, junior to, senior to.

            4.   Each, every, either, neither, when used as Adjectives, go with singular Noun. Example- Every boy was punished.


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