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Degrees of Comparison: Special Structures Used for Comparing

We use the comparative to compare one person, thing, action or group with another person, thing etc. We use the superlative to compare somebody/something with the whole group that he/she/it belongs to.

Some special structures used for comparing are explained here.

All / any / none the + comparative

In this structure the means ‘by as much’.

  • The journey was all the more difficult because our car broke down in the middle.
  • Her high blood pressure made it all the more important to seek immediate medical attention.
Three / four times + comparative

The structure three / four times + comparative can be used instead of three / four times as much as.

  • I can run three times faster than you. (= I can run three times as fast as you.)
  • The task was ten times more difficult than I expected. (OR The task was ten times as much difficult as I expected.)
  • The journey took four times longer than I had expected. (OR The journey took four times as long as I had expected.)

Note that twice and half cannot be followed by the structure times + comparative. Instead, we use the structures twice as…as and half as…as.

  • You are not half as beautiful as you think you are. (NOT You are not half times less beautiful…)
  • She is going out with a man twice as old as her.
Pronouns after as and than

In an informal style, object pronouns (me, him, them, her, us) are used after as and than. In a more formal style, subject pronouns (I, he, they, she, we) are used usually with verbs.

  • I earn as much as him. (Less formal)
  • I earn as much as he does. (More formal)
  • She is older than me. (Less formal)
  • She is older than I am. (More formal)

In this structure the subject pronoun is unusual if it is not followed by a verb.

Infinitives after superlatives

We often use the infinitive after a superlative. This structure has the same meaning as a relative clause.

  • She is the youngest woman ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. (= She is the youngest woman who has ever won the Nobel Peace Prize.)

This structure is also possible after first, last and next.

  • Who was the first woman to become the Prime Minister of the UK? (= Who was the first woman who became the Prime Minister of the UK?)
Non-assertive words after superlatives

Non-assertive words like ever, yet and any are not normally used in affirmative clauses. However, they can follow comparatives and superlatives.

  • It’s the best book I have ever read.
  • This is my hardest job yet.

Sections In This Article
Degrees of Comparison
Comparison using positive adjectives and adverbs
Comparison using comparative adjectives and adverbs
Comparison using superlative adjectives and adverbs
The difference between comparative and superlative
Degree modifiers with comparatives and superlatives

See Also
Degree
Comparative Degree
Superlative Degree

 

 

 

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