Timeless Tips 6: On comparatives and superlatives

Get Grammar: On comparatives and superlatives
 
This is a grammar rule some people seem to forget: we never use double comparatives or double superlatives.
 
A comparative is used to compare two things, and adjectives and adverbs can be modified to reflect the comparison by adding an ‘-r’ or ‘-er’ to the end: clear = clearer; dry = drier; wide = wider.
 
When an adjective or adverb is long or sounds awkward with the additional ‘-r’ or ‘-er’, we use the comparative adverb ‘more’: more beautiful (because beautifuler is both awkward and sounds terrible); more sensitive; more orderly.
 
We NEVER say ‘more clearer, more drier, more wider’.
 
A superlative is used when comparing three or more things, and adjectives and adverbs are mostly modified by using the ‘-est’ suffix: slowest, fastest, driest, clearest, liveliest.
 
When adjectives or adverbs are long or sound awkward with the additional ‘-est’, we use the superlative adverb ‘most’: most beautiful; most destructive; most sentimental; most freakish; most frightening.
 
When adjectives or adverbs can already be modified to reflect degrees of comparison as part of the word, we NEVER add ‘more’ or ‘most’.
 
We NEVER use ‘more’ or ‘most’ with good, better, best (better already ends with ‘er’ and ‘best’ already ends with ‘est’) or with bad, worse, worst (‘worse’ is a special case, and is already the comparative form for ‘bad’; ‘worst’ already has the combined ‘est’ form in the ‘-st’).
 
While we occasionally still hear of “badder and baddest”, these were most common until the 18th century and have since been replaced with ‘worse’ and ‘worst’; so now, we NEVER say ‘badder’ or ‘baddest’ (except in reference to Leroy Brown, who is the baddest man in town)
 
We NEVER say: gooder, goodest, worser, worstest, more good/more gooder/more goodest; or most good/most gooder/most goodest; more bad/more badder/more baddest/more worse/more worser/more worsest; or most bad/most badder/most baddest/most worse/most worstest.
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