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Degrees of Comparisons – Types, Rules and Examples

Grade 10
May 6, 2023

Degrees of Comparisons

Degrees of Comparison are form-changing adjectives that are used to compare one thing or person to another.

They are of three types:

  1. The Positive Degree
  2. The Comparative Degree
  3. The Superlative Degree

Take the sentences:

  • Tom is a tall boy.
  • Jim is a taller boy than Brian.
  • Henry is the tallest of all the boys.

In sentence 1, the adjective tall describes the noun, Brian, without comparing it to anything else. Therefore, the adjective tall can be said to be in the positive degree.

More examples: Sweet, strange, dark, etc.


But in sentence 2, the adjective taller compares the noun Chris with another noun Brian. Therefore, the adjective taller can be said to be in the comparative degree. Here, the comparative degree is formed from the positive simply with by adding the suffix ‘-er.’

More examples: Sweeter, stranger, darker, etc.

Similarly, in sentence 3, the adjective tallest compares the noun Henry with more than one noun, in this case, boys collectively.

Therefore, the adjective tallest can be said to be in the superlative degree. Here, the superlative degree is formed from the positive simply with the addition of the suffix ‘-est.’

More examples: Sweetest, strangest, darkest, etc.


Note that the comparative degree is used when two things are compared, and the superlative degree is used to compare more than three things.

The adjectives given above in the sentences are called regular adjectives. Regular adjectives are the ones that form the comparatives and superlatives by adding the suffixes -er and –est or by adding more and most before the positive, respectively. The adjectives given above are all examples of regular adjectives.


  • Sweet, sweeter, sweetest.
  • Weak, weaker, weakest.

But this cannot be done all the time. Sometimes, the adjectives completely change their forms to become an entirely new words to represent the comparative and the superlative.

For certain adjectives, the comparative and the superlative cannot be formed from the positive. Therefore, they are called irregular adjectives.


  • Good, better, best.
  • Bad, worse, worst.
  • Many, more, most.

Now, let us look at some important rules that must be followed while using trees of comparison.

Rule 1:

Adjectives with more than two syllables form their superlative and comparative by adding more and most respectively before the positive, like:

  • Beautiful, more beautiful, most beautiful
  • Courageous, more courageous, most courageous
  • Difficult, more difficult, most difficult

Rule 2:

When comparing two people or things, a comparative degree is used in conjunction with the word than, like:

  • This is bigger than that.
  • He is smarter than his cousin.
  • You are more courageous than

Rule 3:

The comparative -er is not used while comparing two qualities in the same person or thing. Instead, more is used before the adjective in such cases, even if the first adjective is a one-syllable word, like:

  • Emily is more smart than clever.
  • Ryan is more brave than prudent.

Rule 4:

Never use double comparative or double superlative adjectives like;

  • I am more closer with her than I am with him. – Wrong

I am closer with her than I am with him. – Correct

  • This chocolate is more tastier than – Wrong

This chocolate is tastier than that. – Correct

Rule 5:

Certain words like perfect, parallel, unique, etc. are absolute and here be logically compared. Therefore, never use more or most adjectives like these that give absolute sense.


  • He gave the critic the most perfect – Wrong.

He gave the critic a perfect reply.- Correct.

  • This line is more parallel to the other one.- Wrong

This line is parallel, but the other is not.

Rule 6:

A few comparative adjectives followed by the word to, such as senior, junior, superior, inferior, elder, etc. However, these comparative adjectives should not be followed by then.


  • She is elder to
  • All my classmates are senior to
  • Emma’s marriage was prior to her mother’s death.
Degrees of Comparison


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