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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > How do you explain this?    

How do you explain this?


How do you explain this?
To make a comparative adj we add er to one syllable adjectives plus some of those longer adjectives ending with -y, and for adjectives consisting of 2 or more syllables we use more + adj + than. No problem up to here. But how do you explain this to your students?!

More true
More real
More fun
More lost

These are all 1-syllable adjectives, why more?!
If they are considered exceptions, are there more examples of this kind?!


1 May 2012      


Predicative adjectives

Some adjectives, such as "afraid, alike, alive, alone, ashamed, asleep, awake, aware", are used only predicatively after linking verbs (i.e., they are not used in the position before a noun). Predicative adjectives can form the comparative degree with the help of MORE, but are hardly ever used in the superlative degree.

As time passed, he became more and more ashamed of himself.

She is more afraid of him than of his father.

But in the case with the adjectives which you�ve mentioned it�s probably different as they can be used before a noun:

fun things, real story, true story, lost world

So, I guess they follow this rule but as with a lot of things in the English language with a twistWink


P.S. I was once recommended a Webster�s use of English dictionary.

1 May 2012     

United Kingdom

You forgot ill.LOL
You would need a linguist to explain why. You have to remember that English doesn �t have a controlling academy like many other languages and as such is pretty much a "people �s language." For beginners, it �s a wonderfully flexible and surprisingly easy language but whenever we start looking at grammar we start finding these exceptions. There �s the problem. Not the grammar, but the exceptions. I just tell my students that English was formed from Anglo Saxon and Old Norse with some Latin and Norman French thrown in. And then somebody took all the grammar books from those languages and lost them. That usually does the job.Thumbs Up

1 May 2012     


Rules are not cast in stone, language is alive and usage changes.

Did you know that �truer � is also possible and that �funner � and the �funnest � are used more and more! And no, this is not a typo.

I think the best way is not to try to find too many rules and explanations, especially for the kind of words you mention. Take it easy. I sometimes quip to students that there are so many exceptions in order to keep me in my job ;-)

1 May 2012     


Thanks everybody.
Phillip and spinney, I usually make those kinds of jokes when my students tend to get obsessed with putting everything within certain grammatical rules, but then I sometimes feel like I only make those jokes because I lack the English knowledge I need for my job. That is why I asked that question. To make sure I �m not that unaware after all :P
Well, my own language, i.e. Persian, is also full of such unexplainable irregularities. So much of them that if I were supposed to teach my own language to a foreigner, I would be in more trouble.
Thank you very much :)

1 May 2012