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  1. Comparison of Adjectives

Adjectives have the following degrees of comparison:

a) p o s i t i v e: big, good, and expensive;

b) c o m p a ra t i v e

- of superiority: bigger, better, more expensive (than);

- of inferiority: not so big as, not so good as, not so expensive as/less expensive than;

- of equality: as big as, as good as, and as expensive as;

c) s u p e r l a t i v e

- absolute: very big, extremely good, and very expensive;

- relative: the biggest, the best, the most expensive.

1.1. The Synthetical Comparison

(adjective) + er for the c o m p a r t i v e of superiority

the (adjective) + er for the relative s u p e r l a t i v e

It is used for:

a) monosyllabic adjectives:

sweet - sweeter - the sweetest,

fine - finer - the finest,

dry - drier - the driest,

big - bigger - the biggest;

b) disyllabic adjectives ending in -y, -ow, -er:

pretty - prettier - the prettiest,

narrow - narrower - the narrowest,

clever - cleverer - the cleverest;

c) other disyllabic adjectives: quiet, common, pleasant, and handsome:

quiet - quieter - the quietest.

1.2. The Analytical Comparison

more + (adjective) for the c o m p a r t i v e of superiority

the most+(adjective) for the relative s u p e r l a t i v e

It is used for plurisyllabic adjectives:

rapid - more rapid - the most rapid,

beautiful - more beautiful - the most beautiful.

1.3. The Irregular Comparison

good - better - the best;

bad/ill - worse - the worst;

old - older/elder - the oldest/the eldest;

NOTE: Elder and the eldest are used only attributively, in family relationships: my elder brother.

far - farther/further - the farthest/the furthest

NOTE: Further has the meaning of "additional", "more": further information.

little - less/lesser - the least

NOTE: Lesser means "smaller", "not so important": the writer's lesser works.

much/many - more - the most

fore - former - the foremost/the first

NOTE: Former means "of an earlier period" or "the fist of two": in former times. The foremost means "chief": the foremost poet of his period. The first means "initial": the first man to come.

late - later/latter - the latest/the last

NOTE: Latter means "the second of two": I've met Will and Sam; the former is a student, and the latter is a lawyer. The latest means "the most recent": the latest fashion. The last means "final": Hardy's last novel.

near - nearer - the nearest/the next

NOTE: The nearest is used of distance: Can you show me the way to the nearest bank? The next refers to order: The next train is at seven.

in - inner - inmost/innermost

out - outer/utter - outermost/utmost/uttermost

up - upper - upmost/uppermost

NOTE: In, out, up are adverbs in the positive degree, but adjectives in the comparative and the superlative. Inmost and innermost mean "most private": my inmost feelings. Utter means "complete", "total": an utter stranger. Utmost and uttermost means "greatest": of the utmost importance. Upmost and uppermost mean "predominant": These thoughts were uppermost in his mind.

1.4. Special Constructions

a) comparative + and + comparative or more + and + more + adjective ("din ce īn ce mai", "tot mai")

He is getting better and better.

His answers are more and more correct.

b) the + comparative (when two things or persons are compared)

Mary is the prettier of the two sisters.

c) the + comparative...the + comparative ( cu cāt atāt)

The more you eat the fatter you will get.

  1. Classification of Adjectives

2.1. From a syntactic point of view, adjectives can be:

a) both p r e d i c a t i v e and a t t r i b u t i v e: good, tall, black, etc.:

I'm reading a good book. The book is good.

b) a t t r i b u t i v e only: woolen, total, mere, etc.:

I like this woolen skirt. He is a mere farmer.

c) p r e d i c a t i v e o n l y: alive, awake, asleep, worth, etc.:

When I walked into his room, he was awake.

NOTE: Adjectives can be subject complements: The soup tastes good. The air smells sweet, or object complements: He flung the window open. I like my tea strong.

2.2. From the word-formation point of view, adjectives can be:

a) simple: old, warm, and empty;

b) derived: beautiful, unhappy, black-haired, harmless;

c) compound: homesick, self-taught, and well meaning.

  1. Position of Adjectives

When adjectives are attributes, they are placed:

a) before the noun: short hair,   heavy box, and big animal;

NOTE: If there are several adjectives modifying a noun, their order from the noun to the left is: (noun) material, origin/style, colour, age, shape, size, quality: a pretty young French woman, a long yellow silk dress, an expensive American jet plane.

b) after the noun: court martial,   somebody important, a carpet two meters long, a man difficult to please.


I. Supply the comparative or superlative form of the adjective in brackets:

1. He is (lazy) student in the class. 2. She is looking for a (big) flat than the one she has now. 3. Jane is (good) cook I know 4. (late) poem written by Ana Blandiana is published in today's newspaper. 5. What is (late) news of him? 6. He was able to get (far) information at the railway station. 7. "The Tempest" is Shakespeare's (late) play. 8. His (old) brother is five years (old) than you. 9. The (far) house from the sea is hers. 10. He had a word with a (little) personage in the police force. 11. The weather in Florida is (hot) than the weather in Montana. 12. She earns much (little) money than her cousin does. 13. My paper is bad, but yours is (bad).

II. Translate into English:

1. Cu cāt vei fi mai gras, cu atāt mai scurta īti va fi viata. 2. Astazi este din ce īn ce mai usor sa calatoresti. 3. Cu cāt vorbeam mai mult, cu atāta eram mai abatut. 4. Am citit ambele lucrari si cred ca a ta este cea mai buna. 5. Cu cāt mergeam mai departe, cu atāt ni se facea mai foame. 6. Tot mai putini oameni cred īn aceste idei. 7. Dintre cei doi frati, George este cel mai harnic si cel mai ambitios. 8. Cu cāt poti vinde mai multe bilete, cu atāt mai bine.

III. Fill in the blanks with the intensifiers: much, far, a lot, a good deal, a great deal, for the comparative, and by far, possible, imaginable, for the superlative:

1. In the end he will pay a . higher price for it. 2. Traveling is . more interesting than watching TV. 3. This is . the most pressing problem facing families this winter. 4. You have found the best . solution to my troubles. 5.They had the greatest difficulty . getting here in time. 6. Helen is . the worst student in her group. 7. Their old engineer is . more experienced than the new one. 8. I think her interviews are . better than his.

IV. Supply the right preposition after each adjective:

1. Mary is very fond .books. 2. He always tries to be polite . people. 3. Be very careful . what you tell him. 4. She has never been successful . anything so far. 5. We have all the equipment necessary . the trip. 6. She is quite different . her sister. 7. He took a job because he no longer wanted to be dependent . his parents. 8. The new teacher is very patient . children. 9. Why do you feel inferior . your mates? 10. He is very angry . you. 11. What are you afraid .? 12. I'm not proud . you have done.

V. Put the following adjectives into the correct sentences:

a) desperate, false, fresh, good, grey, smooth, sour, well (= in good health)

1. I'll buy these eggs; they seem ... 2. The woman looked. 3. I don't feel ... today; I have a terrible headache. 4. This meat doesn't smell quite ... 5. I can't drink the milk; it tastes ... 6. The rumor about his disappearance proved ... 7. Velvet feels very.. 8. His hair has turned .

b) clean, empty, free, hard, open, pink, soft, sweet, wide

1. Don't boil the eggs ..., we like them ... 2. The dentist asked his patient to open his mouth ... 3. Go to the bathroom and wash your hands ... 4. We are going to paint the baby's room ... 5. He pushed the door ... and looked inside. 6. The police knew he would try to set the prisoner .... 7. Some people like their coffee ... 8. When they returned from the trip, they found their house .

VI. Choose the adjective which best completes each sentence:

1. (alone/lonely/solitary) Mr. Morris is a ... old man. She is ... in the house. The ... traveler stopped by the well to drink some water. 2. (afraid/frightened) She gave the stranger a ... look. He was ... of what you might say. 3. (alive/living/live) Several witnesses to the accident are still .... Frogs feed chiefly on ... insects. No ... man can do that. 4. (asleep/sleeping) The sight of the ... children moved him deeply. He was ... when we returned from the theatre.

VII. Change the following into compound and derived adjectives:

Example: a girl with blue eyes - a blue-eyed girl

a carpet made by hand - a handmade carpet

a play having success - a successful play

1. a student who works hard; 2. a man who looks good; 3. a man with a simple mind; 4. conditions which can be accepted; 5. a story which breaks the heart; 6. a person who is giving help; 7. a driver who is not taking care; 8. a woman with a kind heart; 9. a day with much wind; 10. a tree which is a hundred years old; 11. a blouse with short sleeves; 12. a man who has courage; 13. a suit which is cut well; . a man with a red face; . a moon red like blood.

VIII. Arrange the adjectives in brackets in the proper order:

1. A (black, nice, little) dog was lying in the armchair. 2. I've bought a new set of (aluminium, kitchen, multi-purpose) utensils. 3. You will practice on an (Steinway, expensive, white) piano. 4. She greatly admired those (ivory, Chinese, delicate) figurines. 5. That (dark, college, tall) student is a friend of my sister's. 6.Do you want to buy that (blue, old) car? 7. He gave me a (red, leather, small) bag.


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