Thinking Box

Basic English Grammar - Chapter 16: Making Comparisons

16-1 Comparisons: using the same (as), similar (to), and different (from)

  • THE SAME (AS)
    A and B are the same.
    A is the same as B.

  • SIMILAR (TO)
    C and D are similar.
    C is similar to D.

  • DIFFERENT (FROM)
    E and F are different.
    E is different from F.

16-2 Comparisons: using like and alike

You have a ballpoint pen with blue ink.
I have a ballpoint pen with blue ink.

(a) Your pen is like my pen.
(b) Your pen and my pen are alike.
(c) Our pens are alike.

like = similar to
alike = similar
Like and alike have the same meaning, but the sentence patterns are different.
This + be + like + that.
This and that + be + alike.

16-3 The comparative: using -er and more

  • Mary is 25 years old. / John is 20 years old.
    (a) Mary is older than john.
    (b) Health is more important than money.

    INCORRECT: Mary is more old than John.
    INCORRECT: Health is importanter than money.

    When we use adjectives (e.g., old, important) to compare two people or two things, the adjectives have special forms.
    In (a): We add -er to an adjective, OR
    In (b): We use more in front of an adjective.
    The use of -er or more is called the COMPARATIVE FORM.

    Notice in the examples: than follows the comparative form: older than, more important than.

  • ADJECTIVES WITH ONE SYLLABLE
    ADJECTIVE: big / cheap / old
    COMPARATIVE: bigger / cheaper / older

    Add -er to one-syllable adjectives.
    Spelling note: If an adjective ends in one vowel and one consonant, double the consonant: big-bigger, fat-fatter, hot-hotter, thin-thinner.

  • ADJECTIVES THAT END IN -Y
    ADJECTIVE: funny / pretty
    COMPARATIVE: funnier / prettier

    If an adjective ends in -y, change the -y to -i and add -er.

  • ADJECTIVES WITH TWO OR MORE SYLLABLES
    ADJECTIVE: famous / important / interesting
    COMPARATIVE: more famous / important / interesting

    Use more in front of adjectives that have two or more syllables (except adjectives that end in -y).

  • IRREGULAR COMPARATIVE FORMS
    ADJECTIVE: good / bad / far
    COMPARATIVE: better / worse / farther & further

    The comparative forms of good, bad, and far are irregular.

16-4 The superlative: using -est and most

  • (a) COMPARATIVE
    My thumb in shorter than my index finger.
    (b) SUPERLATIVE
    My hand has five fingers. My thumb is the shortest (finger) of all.

    The comparative (-er/more) compares two things or people.
    The superlative (-est/most) compares three or more things or people.

  • ADJECTIVES WITH ONE SYLLABLE
    ADJECTIVE: old / big
    COMPARATIVE: older (than) / bigger (than)
    SUPERLATIVE: the oldest (of all) / the biggest (of all)

  • ADJECTIVES THAT END IN -Y
    ADJECTIVE: pretty / easy
    COMPARATIVE: prettier (than) / easier (than)
    SUPERLATIVE: the prettiest (of all) / the easiest (of all)

  • ADJECTIVES WITH TWO OR MORE SYLLABLES

    ADJECTIVE: expensive / important
    COMPARATIVE: more expensive (than) / more important (than)
    SUPERLATIVE: the most expensive (of all) / the most important (of all)

  • IRREGULAR FORMS
    ADJECTIVE: good / bad / far
    COMPARATIVE: better (than) / worse (than) / farther & further (than)
    SUPERLATIVE: the best (of all) / the worst (of all) / the farthest & furthest (of all)

16-5 Using one of + superlative + plural noun

(a) The Amazon is one of the longest rivers in the world.
(b) A Rolls Royce is one of the most expensive cars in the world.
(c) Alice is one of the most intelligent people in our class.

The superlative often follows one of.
Notice the pattern:
one of + superlative + plural noun

16-6 Using but

(a) John is rich, but Mary is poor.
(b) The weather was cold, but we were warm inside our house.

But gives the idea that "This is the opposite of that."
A comma usually precedes but.

16-7 Using verbs after but

AFFIRMATIVE VERB + but + NEGATIVE VERB

(a) john is rich, but Mary isn't.
(b) Balls are round, but boxes aren't.
(c) I was in class, but Po wasn't.
(d) Sue studies hard, but Sam doesn't.
(e) We like movies, but they don't.
(f) Alex came, but Maria didn't.
(g) People can talk, but animals can't.
(h) Olga will be there, but Ivan won't.

NEGATIVE VERB + but + AFFIRMATIVE VERB

(i) Mary isn't rich, but John is.
(j) Boxes aren't round, but balls are.
(k) Po wasn't in class, but I was.
(l) Sam doesn't study, but Sue does.
(m) They don't like cats, but we do.
(n) Maria didn't come, but Alex did.
(o) Animals can't talk, but people can.
(p) Ivan won't be there, but Olga will.

Often the verb phrase following but is shortened, as in the examples.

16-8 Making comparisons with adverbs

  • (a) Kim speaks more fluently than Ali (does).
    (b) Anna speaks the most fluently of all.

    COMPARATIVE: more fluently / more slowly / more quickly
    SUPERLATIVE: the most fluently / the most slowly / the most quickly

    Use more and most with adverbs that end in -ly. *

  • (c) Mike worked harder than Sam (did).
    (d) Sue worked the hardest of all.

    COMPARATIVE: harder / faster / earlier / later
    SUPERLATIVE: the hardest / the fastest / the earliest / the latest

    Use -er and -est with irregular adverbs: hard, fast, early, late.

  • (e) Rose writes better than I do.
    (f) Kim writes the best of all.

    COMPARATIVE: better
    SUPERLATIVE: the best

    Better and best are forms of the adverb well.

*Exception: early-earlier-the earliest.

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