degrees of comparison

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degrees of comparison (normally plural, 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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