Grammar: Comparisons: Didactic Analysis on the web-site for teachers and learners of English as a secondary language from a German point of view
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Comparisons:
Didactic Analysis
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Comparisons of Adjectives: Didactic Analysis
A lot of German English teachers and curricula emphasise the formal aspect of superiority (taller/more expensive) as well as supremacy (the tallest, the most expensive) in teaching or learning the notion of comparing things or persons. But especially German students have got a lot of difficulty with expressing their ideas of equality and inequality (which include the aspects of superiority, inferiority, and supremacy, too) because the structures used with comparisons are rather neglected:
as ..............as| not as/so........as|more/less/....-er than| the most/least/....est

Spelling rules should be considered, too.
Word endings change if -er or -est are added  according to the rules already known by the verbs adding -ed in the past tense:
 

Ending
Change
Example
Exceptions
-y -ier/ -iest happier/happiest but not if the -y follows a vowel: 
grey- greyer-greyest
last consonant of monosyllabic adjectives is doubled after short vowels gg, nn,tt bigger/biggest
thinner/thinnest
hot/hotter/hottest
but not if the adjective ends in a double vowel: thick - thicker, thickest
final mute -e disappears -/er, -/est riper/ripest  
An -r that is inaudible in the positive sounds in the comparative and superlative -rer/-rest nearer/nearest  
The sound [g] is added  after  -nger/-ngest stronger/strongest
longer/longest
 
Syllabic -le becomes non-syllabic -ler/-lest simpler/simplest  

Irregular adjective forms:
 

positive comparative superlative  annotations
good better best quality
well better best health
bad worse worst quality
ill worse worst health
evil worse worst wickedness
far  farther farthest distance
  further  furthest figurative use and ranking
near nearer nearest distance
    next figurative use and ranking
much
many
more most much - uncountable things
many - countables things
little  less
(lesser - out of two)
least size
  smaller smallest height
late later  latest time
  latter last figurative use and ranking
old older oldest time
  elder eldest family members

The distinction when to use
....-er than / the ....est or more/less.......| the most/least.... is not easy today because usage varies a lot:
Rule of the thumb:
1.  Monosyllabic adjectives form comparatives with ...-er than  and superlatives with the ....est        .germanische Steigerung
2.  Adjectives with three or more syllables demand more/less...... for comparatives and the most/least....romanische Steigerung
    for superlatives.
3.  Disyllabic adjectives ending on a spoken vowel (syllabic -y, -le, -er, -ow)
    form comparatives with ...-er than  and superlatives with the ....est
    (Examples: happy - happier - happiest, noble -nobler - noblest, clever - cleverer - cleverest,
     narrow - narrower - narrowest).
    All other adjectives tend to use the "three or more syllables rule" (2.) with more/less...... for comparatives
    and the most/least.... for superlatives


<Click here and you will always get back to the table of contents> Table of Contents Comparisons:
Didactic Analysis
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A didactic analysis
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