บทเรียนย่อย 2

Are your shoes more comfortable than mine? Who's got the biggest feet? In this session we take a look at comparatives and superlatives and find out what a famous golfer contributed to the language of comparison.

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Comparatives and superlatives

Catherine had a terrible journey to work this morning. But it’s a useful way to help us understand comparatives and superlatives. Find out why in this episode of 6 Minute Grammar.

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แสดงเนื้อหาบทบันทึกเสียง ซ่อนเนื้อหาบทบันทึกเสียง

Finn 
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Grammar with me, Finn.

Catherine
And me, Catherine. Hello.

Finn   
Today we're talking about comparatives and superlatives. So, let's start with comparatives. We use them to compare one thing or person with another. Catherine, how was your journey to work this morning?

Catherine    
Ok. Well, my journey to work wasn't great, actually. I woke up later than usual, so I took the bus because it's quicker than walking. And it's easier than cycling, too. But the traffic was much busier than normal and we went slower and slower and people became more and more impatient. And the slower the bus went, the more impatient the people became.

Finn
You poor thing. But, lots of comparatives there in your story - we had later and quicker: Catherine woke up later than usual, and she said the bus is quicker than walking.

Catherine
I did. And to make the comparative form of short adjectives or adverbs, we just add the letters -e-r. So, quick, quicker. But if the word already ends in -e, we just add the letter -r. Late, later.

Finn
Remember that we often use the word than in comparative sentences, but sometimes we can leave it out, for example in the question Which is quicker – the bus or the train?

Catherine
I also said that the bus is easier than cycling and the traffic was much busier than normal. For adjectives and adverbs that end in the letter -y and the sound ee, make comparatives by losing the letter -y and adding the letters -i-e-r. So the comparative of easy is easier.

Finn
And busy becomes busier. In fact, Catherine said the traffic was much busier. Now, we can use much or a lot before an adjective or adverb to emphasise the difference. Much busier; a lot easier.

Catherine
To make comparative forms of most adjectives and adverbs with two or more syllables, we use more.

Finn
For example, impatient has three syllables: im-pa-tient, so the comparative of impatient is more impatient.

Catherine
That’s right and to emphasise how something changes, we can repeat comparatives, or the word more with and in the middle, like this:

Finn
The bus went slower and slower and people became more and more impatient.

Catherine
Don't remind me. Here’s another way to use comparatives. Listen to this sentence: the slower the bus went, the more impatient the people became.

Finn
I'm not surprised. Here Catherine used two different comparatives - slower and more impatient - with the, to say how one thing changes when something else changes. The slower the bus went, the more impatient the people became. Really not a good morning, was it, Catherine?

Catherine
Not at all. And it got worse when the bus broke down! 

Finn
Oh really? Oh no, but perfect for us because worse is the comparative adjective of bad. It is irregular. The comparative adverb is badly. Catherine’s morning went badly.

Catherine
Very badly. And the comparative of both good and well is also irregular: it's better.

IDENT
6 Minute Grammar from the BBC.

Catherine
And we're talking about comparatives and superlatives.

Finn
Let's look at superlative adjectives and adverbs. They help us compare one person or thing with several others. So Catherine, what is the quickest way for you to get to work?

Catherine
Well, usually the bus is the quickest, but not today. But walking is the most reliable way and it’s also the easiest.

Finn
OK, we make superlatives in a similar way to comparatives…

Catherine
… but the ending for short words is -e-s-t.

Finn
So quick becomes the quickest

Catherine
… and we use most for words with two or more syllables.

Finn
So the superlative of reliable is the most reliable.

Catherine
That's right. For two-syllable words ending in the letter -y, change the y to i and add -e-s-t, so easy becomes the easiest.

Finn
Don't forget to put the before a superlative adjective or adverb, so it's: walking is the best way to get to work…

Catherine
… though we can use possessive adjectives instead of the word the, like this:

Finn
My best friend is getting married today.

Catherine
And did you spot the irregular superlative - best? This is the superlative form of good and well.

Finn
… and the irregular superlative of bad is worst.

Catherine
Now for the quiz. Which is correct? a) Your internet connection is faster than mine or b) Your internet connection is fastest than mine.

Finn
It's a).

Catherine
Good. And the last one, a) I hope I have a better journey home tonight or b) I hope I have a best journey home tonight.

Finn
Well, it’s a). And we do hope you have a much better journey home tonight, Catherine.

Catherine
Thank you.

Finn
There's lots more about this on our website at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again soon for more 6 Minute Grammar.

Both
Bye.

Download

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End of Session 2

That's the end of this session. We hope you enjoyed learning about comparative and superlative forms. You can practise these forms in Session 3 when we learn about a Chinese tower built higher and faster than most!

หลักไวยากรณ์จากบทเรียนย่อย

  • Making comparatives

    One syllable adjectives and adverbs add -er for comparative and -est for superlative.

    cheap - cheaper - cheapest
    great - greater - greatest
    fast - faster - fastest

    If the adjective or adverb ends in -e, then just add -r (comparative) or -st (superlative).

    nice - nicer - nicest
    safe - safer - safest
    rude - ruder - rudest

    If the adjective ends in a vowel + consonant, double the last letter before adding -er/-est unless it ends in-w.

    big - bigger - biggest
    hot - hotter - hottest
    new - newer - newest

    For adjectives/adverbs with three or more syllables, use more in the comparative and most in the superlative.

    expensive - more expensive - most expensive
    fluently - more fluently - most fluently

    For many adjectives/adverbs with two syllables the comparative and superlative can be formed either by adding -er/-est or by using more/most.

    quiet - quieter/more quiet - quietest/most quiet
    common - commoner/more common - commonest/most common

    For two syllable adjectives/adverbs that end in -y: change the y to i before adding -er/-est.

    happy - happier - happiest
    busy - busier - busiest

    early - earlier - earliest