Degrees of Comparison - What Do They Mean and How To Use Them With Examples

In English grammar, words used to describe and give more information about the nouns in a particular sentence or context are called adjectives. Sometimes, there might be more than one noun that possesses the same quality as another one or sometimes, even better than one or more of the other nouns involved. In order to compare similar qualities, we can make use of degrees of comparison. In this article, you will learn the definition of degrees of comparison, the different degrees of comparison, how they can be used and the rules to be followed when using them along with examples that you can refer to.

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What Do You Mean by Degrees of Comparison? – Definition

In the English language, a degree of comparison is a form of adjective that is used to compare a person or thing possessing the same quality with another. It is related to the adjective or adverb in a sentence. The Collins Dictionary defines the ‘degree of comparison’ as “the listing of the positive, comparative, and superlative forms of an adjective or adverb.” In other words, it can be said that one can use the degree of comparison to make a comparison between nouns having comparable quality or qualities.

The Degrees of Comparison in English Grammar

As you have already seen, the degrees of comparison are used to make comparisons. In English grammar, there are three degrees of comparison and they are,

  • Positive Degree of Comparison
  • Comparative Degree of Comparison
  • Superlative Degree of Comparison

Let us now look at each of the above mentioned degrees of comparison in detail.

Positive Degree of Comparison

The positive degree of comparison is basically the original form of the adjective. This degree does not allow you to make any comparison. It only gives the audience the information about a particular quality possessed by a noun.

For example:

  • Lisa is happy.
  • This dress is pretty.
  • He looks handsome.
  • Meena is tired.
  • The sun is bright.

Comparative Degree of Comparison

The comparative degree of comparison is used to compare between two nouns that have the same quality or the particular quality of a noun at two different times. It shows which one of the two has the greater or lesser degree of the particular quality being referred to.

For example:

  • Tina looks sadder than Katie.
  • This bed is more comfortable than the other bed.
  • The sun is brighter than yesterday.
  • Your hair is longer than hers.
  • My brother is taller than me.

Superlative Degree of Comparison

The superlative degree of comparison is the highest degree of comparison. It is used to compare the similar qualities shared by more than two nouns. It shows which of these nouns being compared has the greatest or least degree of the mentioned quality or qualities.

For example:

  • We climbed the highest mountain.
  • The last group was the best of all.
  • The Himalayas are the longest mountain ranges.
  • Sanjana is the tallest girl in our gang.
  • Adharsh is the most silent boy in class.

How Do You Use Degrees of Comparison? – Rules and Points to Remember

Like every other grammatical component in English, there are some rules and points you will have to remember when using the degrees of comparison. Take a look at the following.

  • The first thing that you should remember about degrees of comparison is that they are used to compare adjectives and adverbs.
  • The positive degree of comparison is the base form of the adjective or adverb and does not allow any comparison.
  • The comparative degree of comparison is used to compare two nouns that possess or do not possess the same qualities. It is mostly indicated by the addition of ‘-er’ to the end of the adjective.
  • The comparative degree of comparison is always indicated by the addition of ‘than’ after the comparative form of the adjective.
  • The superlative degree of comparison is used to show which of the nouns possess the greatest or least of the quality or qualities. It is indicated by the use of the article ‘the’ before the adjective and the addition of ‘-est’ to the end of the adjective.
  • Make sure you retain the adjuncts that are there in the sentence when you are using the comparative or superlative degree of comparison.

Examples of Degrees of Comparison

Take a look at the following examples of how degrees of comparison can be used.

Positive Degree of Comparison Comparative Degree of Comparison Superlative Degree of Comparison
Santana is tall. Santana is taller than Brittany. Santana is the tallest of all the girls.
She is pretty. She is prettier than her sister. She is the prettiest.
Sam is intelligent. Sam is more intelligent than Tina. Sam is the most intelligent kid in class.
The food here is as good as the other restaurants in the city. The food here is better than the other restaurants in the city. The food here is the best of all the restaurants in the city.
He is smart. He is smarter than Geetha. He is the smartest.
This book is interesting. This book is more interesting than the other books I have read. This book is the most interesting book I have read.
Rinita has a big house. Rinita has a bigger house than Seena. Rinita has the biggest house.
The dresses in this boutique are expensive. The dresses in this boutique are more expensive than the boutiques in the city. The dresses in this boutique are the most expensive.
The weather today is bad. The weather today is worse than yesterday. The weather today is the worst.
My friend, Bindhu, looks happy. My friend, Bindhu, looks happier than my other friends. My friend, Bindhu, looks the happiest.

List of Degrees of Comparison

Before you look at examples, just keep in mind that the rule to add ‘-er’ and ‘-est’ to form the comparative and superlative degree of comparison does not remain the same with every adjective. The different types include,

  • Type 1 – Doubling the final consonant of a monosyllabic adjective and adding ‘-er’ and ‘-est’.
  • Type 2 – Adding ‘-er’ and ‘-est’ to monosyllabic adjectives in which the last consonant is preceded by another consonant or two vowels.
  • Type 3 – Adding ‘-r’ and ‘-st’ to adjectives ending in ‘e’.
  • Type 4 – Adding -ier’ and ‘-iest’ to adjectives ending in ‘y’.
  • Type 5 – Adding ‘more’ and ‘most’ to polysyllabic adjectives.
  • Type 6 – Irregular adjectives

Here is a list of 100 examples of degrees of comparison that you can refer to.

Type 1

Positive Comparative Superlative
Big Bigger Biggest
Thin Thinner Thinnest
Fat Fatter Fattest
Dim Dimmer Dimmest
Hot Hotter Hottest
Sad Sadder Saddest
Slim Slimmer Slimmest
Red Redder Reddest

Type 2

Positive Comparative Superlative
Bright Brighter Brightest
Short Shorter Shortest
Weak Weaker Weakest
Long Longer Longest
Smart Smarter Smartest
Cool Cooler Coolest
Dark Darker Darkest
Small Smaller Smallest
Bold Bolder Boldest
Clever Cleverer Cleverest
High Higher Highest
Tall Taller Tallest
Sweet Sweeter Sweetest
Deep Deeper Deepest
Rich Richer Richest
Fast Faster Fastest
Thick Thicker Thickest
Great Greater Greatest
Kind Kinder Kindest
Cheap Cheaper Cheapest
Young Younger Youngest
Fast Faster Fastest
Stout Stouter Stoutest
Black Blacker Blackest
Slow Slower Slowest
Tight Tighter Tightest
Quick Quicker Quickest
Narrow Narrower Narrowest
Broad Broader Broadest

Type 3

Positive Comparative Superlative
Large Larger Largest
Close Closer Closest
Dense Denser Densest
Humble Humbler Humblest
Simple Simpler Simplest
Fine Finer Finest
Noble Nobler Noblest
Brave Braver Bravest
Pale Paler Palest
Nice Nicer Nicest

Type 4

Positive Comparative Superlative
Funny Funnier Funniest
Happy Happier Happiest
Dry Drier Driest
Lazy Lazier Laziest
Easy Easier Easiest
Heavy Heavier Heaviest
Wealthy Wealthier Wealthiest
Healthy Healthier Healthiest
Costly Costlier Costliest
Busy Busier Busiest
Cosy Cosier Cosiest
Dirty Dirtier Dirtiest

Type 5

Positive Comparative Superlative
Comfortable More comfortable Most comfortable
Beautiful More beautiful Most beautiful
Sensible More sensible Most sensible
Ignorant More ignorant Most ignorant
Attractive More attractive Most attractive
Important More important Most important
Courageous More courageous Most courageous
Faithful More faithful Most faithful
Elegant More elegant Most elegant
Active More active Most active
Popular More popular Most popular
Awesome More awesome Most awesome
Loyal More loyal Most loyal
Fantastic More fantastic Most fantastic
Wonderful More wonderful Most wonderful
Splendid More splendid Most splendid
Famous More famous Most famous
Difficult More difficult Most difficult
Careful More careful Most careful
Brilliant More brilliant Most brilliant
Enthusiastic More enthusiastic Most enthusiastic
Suitable More suitable Most suitable
Spacious More spacious Most spacious
Devoted More devoted Most devoted
Proper More proper Most proper
Patient More patient Most patient
Amazing More amazing Most amazing
Intelligent More intelligent Most intelligent
Likely More likely Most likely
Careless More careless Most careless
Threatening More threatening Most threatening
Magnificent More magnificent Most magnificent
Depressed More depressed Most depressed
Excited More excited Most excited
Amusing More amusing Most amusing

Type 6

Positive Comparative Superlative
Good Better Best
Bad Worse Worst
Far Further/Farther Furthest/Farthest
Late Later(time)/Latter(position) Latest(time)/Last(position)
Much More Most
Little Less Least
Many More Most
Old Elder/Older EldestOldest

Check Your Understanding of Degrees of Comparison

Fill in the blanks with the most appropriate degree of comparison in the following sentences.

1. Thiya is ________ (smart) than most of her friends.

2. Nobody is _____________ (good) you.

3. Princy was _____________ (elegant) of all.

4. Haritha is _________ (tall) her brother.

5. ___________ (recent) movie was excellent.

6. Mount Everest is ___________ (high) peak.

7. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is ___________ (watched) series.

8. Sam is _________ (happy) Tina.

9. Artie is a _____________ (patient) kid.

10. These maths problems are _______ (easy).

Check out if you have used the right form of the adjective from the answers given below.

1. Thiya is smarter than most of her friends.

2. Nobody is as good as you.

3. Princy was the most elegant of all.

4. Haritha is taller than her brother.

5. The most recent movie was excellent.

6. Mount Everest is the highest peak.

7. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is the most watched series.

8. Sam is happier than Tina.

9. Artie is a patient kid.

10. These maths problems are easy.

Frequently Asked Questions on Degrees of Comparison in English

What is the meaning and definition of degrees of comparison?

A degree of comparison is a form of adjective that is used to compare a person or thing possessing the same quality with another. It is related to the adjective or adverb in a sentence. The Collins Dictionary defines the ‘degree of comparison’ as “the listing of the positive, comparative, and superlative forms of an adjective or adverb.” In other words, it can be said that one can use the degree of comparison to make a comparison between nouns having comparable quality or qualities.

What are the degrees of comparison in English grammar?

In English grammar, there are three degrees of comparison and they are,

  • Positive Degree of Comparison
  • Comparative Degree of Comparison
  • Superlative Degree of Comparison

Give an example of degrees of comparison.

Here is an example of degrees of comparison.

  • Mirna is tall. (Positive)
  • Mirna is taller than Georgina. (Comparative)
  • Mirna is the tallest of all her friends. (Superlative)

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