Module 6, Modifiers: Adjectives and Adverbs, Lesson 11:

Challenging Comparisons


Challenge 1: Irregular Adjectives and Adverbs

Some frequently used adjectives and adverbs form comparative and superlative forms in irregular ways.

good better best
bad worse worst
well better best
much more most
many more most
some more most

Challenge 2: Multiple Meaning Modifiers

Some positive forms have multiple meanings, and each meaning has different, irregular comparative and superlative forms.

little (size) littler littlest
little (amount) less least
late (time) later latest
late (order) latter last
old (age) older oldest
old (order) elder eldest
far (distance) farther farthest
far (progress) further furthest
Littler (size): My cat is little, your cat is littler, but his is the littlest.
Less (amount): I only have a little money, you have less than I do, but he has the least money.
Later (time): Sarah was late, Michael was later, but Shelly was latest.
Latter (sequence):
I told the secret to Jeremy and Eric, but the latter told Kyle. (The latter is Eric because he is the second in the list)
I told the secret to Jeremy, Eric, and Kyle, and the last told Mom. (The last is Kyle because he is the last in the list.)
Older (age): My father is old, my grandfather is older, but my great-grandfather is oldest.
Elder (sequence): Of the two brothers, Mark is the elder. Of the four sisters, Mollie is the eldest.
Farther (distance): John threw the ball far, Shannon threw the ball farther, and Lonnie threw the ball the farthest.
Further (progress): I have gotten far in my new book, Lydia is further in her book, but Michael is the furthest.

Challenge 3: Absolutes

Absolutes don't have a comparative or superlative form because they can't be any more than they already are. Absolutes include:

best worst first last only pregnant
dead unique perfect straight round square
You can't have something that is better than the best or worse than the worst.
You can't be more dead or more pregnant. (Either you are or you aren't.)
Something can't be more straight or more round. (Either it is straight or it isn't.)
Absolutes are often superlatives themselves (best, worst)

Practice What You've Learned

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Decide which word completely completes the sentence.
I did a good job, but Leo did a gooder/better job.
Hilary made a bad mistake, but Julia's was badder/worse.
I think your design for a uniform is unique/more unique.
We ate most/muchest of the pizza, but we did leave some for Allie.
Six students were late to school, but Jeremy was the latest/last.
I can't believe Mario has four older/elder sisters.
Adam is an only/onlier child.
Yolanda got lots of Halloween candy, but Josie got manier/more.
I have three little sisters, and the least/littlest is Maura.
I know most of us have read to chapter twelve, but Julia has read farther/further.