More about comparatives and superlatives

دوره: گرامر انگلیسی در شش دقیقه / درس 13

گرامر انگلیسی در شش دقیقه

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More about comparatives and superlatives

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Meet our presenters Rob and Sophie. Whos the tallest and whos the thinnest? These are questions to answer in 6 Minute Grammar as they try to explain more about comparatives and superlatives. Will this be the most useful 6 minutes of your life?! Lets find out…

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Rob Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Grammar with me, Rob.

Sophie And me, Sophie. Hello.

Rob Today we’re talking about comparatives and superlatives - what they are and how to use them.

Sophie Yes, we use comparatives and superlatives to compare people and things. Listen carefully because, as usual, there is a quiz at the end of the show.

Rob OK, we’ll start with some examples of the comparative. So, Sophie, can you stand up, please.

Sophie OK…

Rob Right, look, back to back here. I’m taller than you.

Sophie But I’m thinner than you!

Rob Good point. The sentences I’m taller than you and I’m thinner than you both use the comparative form.

Sophie We use comparatives to compare two people or things that are different in some way.

Rob Listen again to the examples we’ve just used: where does the word than come?

Neil I’m taller than you.

I’m thinner than you.

Sophie Than comes after the comparative adjective. We usually use than in comparative sentences.

Rob But not always, for example, I can ask: Who is taller - you or me?

Sophie Now, there are different ways to make the comparative form: For short words, just add ‘er’. That’s spelled e - r. So tall becomes taller …

Rob …thin becomes thinner …

Sophie Adjectives like happy, funny, easy… that end in the sound /i/ [phonemic sound ‘y’], spelled with a ‘y’, add ‘ier’, spelled: i - e - r.

Rob …so happy becomes happier…

Sophie …easy becomes easier. An example, please Neil.

Neil English is easier than Chinese.

Rob Not if you’re Chinese, though! Now, adjectives that have two or more syllables but don’t end in /i/ (spelled ‘y’), use ‘more’. Neil has some examples.

Neil A tablet is more useful than a laptop.

The film of ‘The Hobbit’ is more exciting than the book.

Rob ‘Useful’ has two syllables and ‘exciting’ has three, so we say more useful and more exciting.

Sophie And we’re talking about comparatives and superlatives. We’ve seen how to use and make comparatives…

Rob Now we’re going to tell you what superlatives are and how to use them. Sophie, are you good at geography?

Sophie I’ll have a go.

Rob OK. Here’s a question for you: What’s the longest river in the world?

Sophie Well, the Nile is a very long river, but I think that the longest river in the world is the Amazon.

Rob And… you’re right! It is the Amazon. ‘The longest river’ is a superlative. We use superlative forms to compare one person or thing with several others in a group. We often use them to say which thing or person is the greatest, the biggest…

Sophie …the most beautiful, the best… in some way.

Rob To make the superlative of short words like high, deep, tall, add ‘est’. That’s spelled e-s-t.

Sophie So, the highest mountain, the deepest ocean, the tallest person…

Rob And remember to put ‘the’ before the adjective. So it’s: I’m the tallest person in my family.

Sophie Now for longer adjectives, with two or more syllables, we use most. Rob, who is the most famous actor in the world?

Rob Well, there are many, aren’t there, but I think Brad Pitt is the most famous actor in the world.

Sophie …’the most famous actor’. So it’s the + most + adjective.

Rob For adjectives that end in /i/ - spelled ‘y’ - like funny, and happy, we add ‘iest’ - that’s i-e-s-t. Here’s an example.

Neil The funniest show on TV is ‘The Simpsons’.

Sophie Now, finally, look out for the irregular comparatives and superlatives.

Neil My iPhone 5 was better than my iPhone 4, but the iPhone 6 is the best phone on the market now, in my opinion.

Rob The comparative form of good is better and the superlative form is best.

Sophie The comparative of bad is worse.

Rob …and the superlative is worst. Listen to these examples:

Neil Winters have been bad the last few years. 2012 was worse than 2011, but 2013 was the worst winter since records began.

Sophie Now for the quiz. I’ll give you an adjective and a sentence and you have to complete the gap with a comparative or superlative.

Rob OK. Number 1: the word is ‘old’. Jenny is ten and Simon is fifteen, so Simon is than Jenny.

Sophie And the answer is: older. Simon is older than Jenny.

Rob Next word: ‘beautiful’. The Taj Mahal is the building I’ve ever seen.

Sophie And the answer is: most beautiful. The Taj Mahal is the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen.

Rob Final word: ‘good’. Using BBC Learning English is the way to improve your English.

Sophie Best. Using BBC Learning English is the best way to improve your English.

Rob There’s lots more about this on our website at Join us again for more 6 Minute Grammar soon.

Both Bye.

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