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Synthetic and Analytic method in degrees of adjectives

  Synthetic and Analytic method in the degrees of adjectives

 

  Degrees of adjectives are used to compare  ‘two’ or ‘more’ nouns to mention the difference in their same quality.

Before studying it,   let’s be familiar with adjectives.

Words that qualify   nouns  or   tell  about their quality, quantity, kind, number, etc are termed as adjectives.

Eg:  a smart boy,  

 Here, the  word  smart  qualifies or tells about the quality of the noun boy.  So the word smart is an adjective.

Eg: Add a little water.

Here also , the word little tells about the quantity of  the noun water. So the word little is an adjective

Another examples of adjectives are,

Good,  small,  tall,  hot,  cold,  lazy,  intelligent,  beautiful  etc…..

So we have studied what is an adjective and also its role.

Here, in this topic, we have to understand the role of  degrees of adjectives in comparing  two or more nouns.

Degrees of  adjectives are classified into three types.  They are  

  • Positive degree,
  • comparative degree,   and
  • superlative degree.

 

1   Positive degree of an adjective is the normal form of an adjective itself.

Eg:  a tall boy,   a  beautiful girl, etc.

Positive degree is used to say about the quality of only one  noun.

That is, if there is only one noun to be mentioned,   then the positive degree of adjective is used.

 

  1. Comparative degree of an adjective is used to compare the same quality of two nouns.

Eg: Vivek is taller than Mathew,

In this example, the same quality (tallness) of  the two nouns Vivek and Mathew is compared to mention who is better in their quality. 

Eg: Jancy is more beautiful than Mary

In this example too, the same quality ( beauty) of the two nouns Jancy and Mary is compared to mention who is better in their quality.

Now,  let’s see how the positive adjective tall is changed  into  comparative degree  taller.

We can see that,  ‘-er’  is added to tall, to make it ‘taller’.

The method adding  ‘-er’ to a positive degree adjective to change into  comparative degree is known as Synthetic method.

This method is only applied to adjectives of one syllable and also a few adjectives of two syllables not ending with  ‘-e’.

eg:  small  (one syllable)  —     smaller ( so  ‘-er’  is added)

       happy ( two syllables, but not ending with -e)    —–   happier ( so ‘-er’ is added)

 

  • If the adjective is of more than one syllable, then  more is  used before the adjective, as we see  in the 2nd  example mentioned above as,

Jancy is more beautiful than Mary.

Here the word beautiful is of  3 syllables.

This method is known as analytic method.

Syllable is a unit of sound in the pronunciation of words.   Here,  a unit of sound   means  a puff of breath until for an another puff  in pronunciation. 

To clear it,  let’s pronounce the words given below,

Examination —    as per the units of pronunciation, the word can be divided into 5 units as,

examination,    so this word has 5 units in pronunciation, because we have to deliver 5 times the puff of breath.

So, we can conclude that the word examination  has 5 syllables.

Beautiful —-      beautiful  ( 3 units)

So, it has 3 syllables.

Water —      water ( 2 units)

So, it has 2 syllables.

Tall –       –tall–  ( 1 unit)

So, it has only 1 syllable.

 

  1. Superlative degree is used to say about the best or  worst  quality among the persons or objects in a group.

Eg:  Jacob   is the tallest boy in the class.

That means Jacob is the tallest among his class mates.

 

Here, the superlative degree of the adjective tall is made by adding  ‘-est’  to it.

So,  like  ‘-er’  in comparative degree,  the method of adding  ‘-est’  to a positive degree adjective of one syllable  and a few adjectives of two syllables not ending with –e,  is also known as synthetic method.

Here, the word tall  has only one syllable.

Eg: Jancy is the most beautiful girl among her friends.

Here, as the adjective beautiful is of  3 syllables,    ‘most’  is used before it, like more is used in the comparative degree.    This method is also known as analytic method.

 

So,  let’s   remember the above mentioned methods once more,

  •  To  change a positive  adjective of one syllable and, also a few positive adjectives of two syllables not ending with ‘-e’,  into  comparative degree and superlative degree,  ‘-er’  and  ‘-est’  should be added at the end of the adjectives respectively.  This method is called synthetic method.

Eg:  Positive degree          Comparative degree    Superlative degree

  • Big                                            bigger                    biggest
  • Small                                        smaller                  smallest
  • Long                                         longer                    longest
  • Clever                                      cleverer                 cleverest

The adjective clever is of two syllables but not ending with –e, so the synthetic method is used here.

Another example,

                  happy                               happier               happiest

 

  • Similarly,   to change a  positive adjective of  more than one syllable  into  comparative or superlative degree,   ‘more’ and  ‘most’  to be used before it respectively. This method is known as analytic method.

Eg:     Positive degree              comparative degree              superlative degree

  • Difficult                                more difficult                     most difficult
  • Honest                                  more honest                       most honest
  • Splendid                               more splendid                    most splendid

 

Now,  let’s go to

Adjectives in irregular comparison.

Here,  irregular comparison means,  certain positive degree adjectives have  superlative degrees ending in ‘most’, and even no comparative at all, as listed below.

 

             Positive degree                      comparative degree              superlative degree

  • Eastern                                                     ——-                               easternmost             (  no comparative)
  • Fore                                                           ———                           foremost ( first)        ( no comparative)
  • Hind                                                           hinder                            hindmost
  • In                                                                 inner                              inmost (innermost)
  • Northern                                                    ——-                              northernmost           (no comparative)
  • Out                                                              outer/utter                     outermost/uttermost/utmost
  • Southern                                                     ——                               southernmost           (no comparative)
  • Top                                                               ——                               topmost                     (no comparative)
  • Up                                                               upper                               uppermost
  • Western                                                       ——                               westernmost              (no comparative)

 

A few irregularities are due to certain sound changes

Eg:   Positive degree                comparative degree               superlative degree

  • Fore                                             further                              furthest
  • Late                                             later/latter                        latest/last
  • Old                                               older/elder                       oldest/eldest
  • Nigh ( near)                               nearer                                nearest/next

 

Some of them have comparatives and superlatives of  different roots

Eg:   Positive degree                     comparative degree                  superlative degree

  • Bad/ ill                                           worse                                       worst
  • Good                                               better                                        best
  • Little                                               less/lesser                                least
  • Much/many                                   more                                         most

 

However,   adjectives  such as    ‘dead’,  ‘singular’,  ‘perfect’ and  ‘unique’ don’t have comparative and superlative degrees.

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