English Notes » Using Modifiers
I. Three degrees of comparison
A. Positive: used when there's no comparison
B. Comparative: used when comparing exactly two items or people
C. Superlative: used when comparing more than two items or people
II. Comparative forms of adjectives and adverbs
# of syllables of word Comparative Degree Superlative Degree
one -er -est
two more OR -er most OR - est
three + more most
III. Irregular adjectives and adverbs
Positive Degree Comparative Degree Superlative Degree
bad worse worst
badly worse worst
far (distance) farther farthest
far (extent) further furthest
good better best
well better best
many more most
much more most
IV. Making logical comparisons
A. Balanced comparisons: When comparing two or more items, they should be basically similar things.
Example: My school's mascot is better than your school. This sentence is incorrect because it is comparing the school mascot to the school. A correct sentence would be as follows: My school's mascot is better than your school's mascot.
B. Other and else in comparisons: When comparing one of a group with the rest of the group, make sure the sentence contains the word else or other.
Example: Stacy's test scores are higher than anyone's is. This sentence is incorrect because since Stacy is someone, then she cannot logically be compared to all students. A corrected sentence would be as follows: Stacy's scores are higher than anyone else's is.
V. Troublesome Modifiers
1. Bad is an adjective and will only modify a noun or a pronoun; it will be used after linking verbs
2. Badly is an adverb and will modify a verb
1. Fewer answers the question How many? It will be used to modify things that can be counted.
2. Less answers the question How much? It will be used to modify things that cannot be counted.
1. Good is always an adjective so it will be used to modify a noun or a pronoun. It will never come after an action verb.
2. Well can be an adjective or an adverb. It is used as an adjective only when describing one's health.
When just is an adverb meaning "no more than", it should be placed immediately before the word it is modifying.
The position of only in a sentence can affect the sentence's whole meaning so it should be placed wisely.
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