degrees of comparison

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English[edit]

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Noun[edit]

(singular: degree of comparison)

  1. (linguistics, grammar) The inflected forms of an adjective that indicate different degrees of the attribute the adjective denotes, usually relative to something else; in general, the types of inflection available for an adjective to denote different degrees of its associated attribute; the positive (uninflected adjective), comparative and superlative forms.
    The degrees of comparison of good are good (positive), better (comparative) and best (superlative).
    • 1820, James Brown, An American Grammar, page 43,
      The word red is an adjective, in the dogmatical or positive degree of comparison.
    • 1833, Joseph Hervey Hull, English Grammar, by Lectures, page 55,
      There are commonly reckoned three degrees of comparison, namely: the positive, comparative and superlative; though, strictly speaking, there are but two degrees, the positive being merely the state of the adjective itself.
    • 1851, Goold Brown, Samuel U. Berrian (editor), The Grammar of English Grammars, 10th Edition, page 285,
      Among the degrees of comparison, some have enumerated equality; as when we say, "It is as sweet as honey."
    • 2007, Rodney J. Decker, Koine Greek Reader: Selections from the New Testament, Septuagint, and Early Christian Writers, page 205,
      The degrees of comparison possible are: positive (big), comparative (bigger), superlative (biggest), and elative (very big).

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