Comparatives and Superlatives
I’m back with another grammar refresher. As last time, feel free to mark your choices down; the answers will follow later.
This is a personal quiz, so please do not “reply” or “reply all” with your answers. I’ll send the answers after 3 p.m.
I’m hopeful this one won’t be (harder, more hard) than the last one.
- So far, it probably doesn’t seem (difficulter, more difficult).
- In fact, you may think this is (simpler, more simple) than it is.
- Mistakes, however, are (commoner, more common) than you believe.
- In the end, I think I can make the right choice (clearer, more clear) than it is now.
- This one is just for fun: This is the (funnest, most fun) workplace ever!
- With one syllable words, you should use –er or –est for comparatives.
I’m hopeful this one won’t be harder than the last one.
- For two or more syllables, you should use more or most.
So far, it probably doesn’t seem more difficult.
- Of course, there are exceptions: two-syllable words ending in –y, –ow, –le or –er. I memorized the nonword yowler and like to think of it as a cheesy, third-rate horror flick with some sort of werewolf-like creature on the front cover. (No, not the one with Taylor Lautner.)
In fact, you may think this is simpler than it is.
- Of course, there are exceptions to the exceptions; this is English! This one sounds awkward because the alternative is far, ahem, commoner, so much so that it would be hard for anyone to say more common is wrong or not even preferred. That said, most dictionaries still stick more closely to the this:
Mistakes, however, are commoner than you believe.
- One-syllable words should use –er or –est.
In the end, I think I can make the right choice clearer than it is now.
- Did anyone else hear nails on a chalkboard? Fun has a problem: It wants to be an adjective. When you say “for fun” or “It’s fun here,” you’re using fun as a noun. In my example sentence, it is being used as an adjective. If fun were OK as an adjective, its comparative and superlative forms should follow the one-syllable guideline and be funner or funnest, respectively; however, many people use –er or –est in formal writing only when they are poking fun at the bad grammar and more or most in speech and informal writing. A better way is to avoid the comparative use of the word altogether.
On a side note, Melanie has done a great job of teaching me to get rid of comparative adjectives when there is actually nothing being compared. Every time I see a computer that is described as “faster and more powerful,” I can hear her say something like, “… than what? A toaster?"