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Comparison of adverbs-Rules & Examples

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Comparison of adverbs-Rules & Examples

Comparison of Adverbs

Like adjectives, we can also make comparisons with adverbs. The comparative form of adverb shows differences and similarities between two things (actions or states). The adverbs in the superlative form are used to talk about extremes. The positive degree of adverb does not make any comparison. When we want to show that two things or people are similar in some way, we use as + adverb + as
  • He stayed here as long as his brother.
  • She cannot run as fast as I can.
  • I will be left as soon as they arrive.
  • Does he still run as slowly as he used to?
  • He didn’t go as quickly as his brother.

Examples of Comparative Adverbs

  • She learns faster than I.
  • My bike runs slower/ more slowly than hers.
  • I can write better than he thinks.
  • Try to place the glasses more carefully.
  • He answered more abruptly.
  • Griffon vultures flew much higher than most birds.
  • She always hit the ball more powerfully than other players.

Examples of Superlative Adverbs

  • She is the fastest learner in the class.
  • She walks most quietly.
  • They accepted our offer most appreciatively.
  • Ahmad ran fastest in the competition.
  • She ate the dinner most greedily.
  • Of all the students in our class, Hakeem speaks English the most fluently.
  • Who studied the hardest?
It is important to note that only Adverbs of Time, Degree, and Manner admit of comparison. There are many adverbs that we cannot make any comparison with them. For example, where, here, there, now, then, etc.

Rules of Forming Comparatives and Superlatives Adverbs.

To form the comparative and superlative degree of adverbs, we can categorize the adverbs in three ways.

  1. One or two-syllable adverbs
  2. Adverbs ending in -ly
  3. Irregular Adverbs
Rule 1: One or two-syllable adverbs form their comparative when “-er” is added to the positive degree and form superlative by adding -est.

Positive Degree Comparative Degree Superlative Degree
Hard Harder Hardest
Fast Faster Fastest
Long Longer Longest
High Higher Highest
Low Lower Lowest

Adverbs already end in e take “-r” and -st in comparative and superlative form, respectively. 

Positive Degree Comparative Degree Superlative Degree
Quite Quitter Quittest
Late Later Latest

Rule 2: Adverbs end in “-ly” 
Adverbs ending in -ly take more or less in comparative and most or least in the superlative degree.

Positive Degree Comparative Degree Superlative Degree
Accurately More/less Accurately Most/least Accurately
Happily More/less Happily Most/least Happily
Beautifully More Beautifully Most Beautifully
Easily More Easily Most Easily
Quickly More Quickly Most Quickly
Certainly More Certainly Most Certainly
Joyfully More Joyfully Most Joyfully

Examples
  • She eats more quickly than me.
  • I write less quickly than her sister.
  • I see him most frequently on Monday.
  • The vehicles run least frequently on Friday.
Rule 3: Irregular Adverbs
A few adverbs have irregular comparative and superlative forms.

Positive Degree Comparative Degree Superlative Degree
Badly Worse Worst
Well Better Best
Much More Most
Little Less Least
Near Nearer Nearest
Certainly More Certainly Most Certainly
Joyfully More Joyfully Most Joyfully

Examples 
  • She talked little about her friends.
  • She performed badly in the competition.
  • She did worse in the second competition.
  • The public voted him the region’s worst performed teacher.
  • David plays well.
  • Arjun plays better than David.
  • Ahmad plays best of all.
  • Does she work much?
  • I study more than others do.
  • She watches movies most of the other roommates. 

Adverbs with two Forms

The following adverbs have two forms to a positive degree. In these cases, they also have two forms in comparative and superlative form. 

Positive Degree Comparative Degree Superlative Degree
Loud or Loudly Louder or More Loudly Loudest or Most Loudly
Quick or Quickly Quicker or More Quickly Quickest or Most Quickly
Slow or Slowly Slower or More Slowly Slowest or Most Slowly
Cheap or Cheaply Cheaper or More Cheaply Cheapest or Most Cheaply

Examples
  • He ran quickest (most quickly)
  • The dog bark loud (loudly)
  • The dog barked louder (more loudly) than the other.
  • We got some books cheap (cheaply) in the sale.

Gradable Adverbs

The comparison is only made with gradable adverbs. The adverbs used with gradable adjectives are called gradable adverbs. Gradable adverbs used with adjectives make their meaning stronger or weaker.

He is a very/extremely/remarkably strong man in this village.
He is a quiet/slightly strong man in this village.
He is not a very strong man in this village.

These sentences show that the intensity of something can be a bit or a lot. 

Non-gradable Adverbs

Adverbs that qualifying non-gradable adjectives are called no-gradable adverbs. Adjectives that cannot usually be modified are non-gradable adjectives.

He’s completely mad.
Our shoes are entirely identical.
His answer was perfectly correct.
It’s practically impossible.

Commonly used non-gradable adverbs are
Completely
Wholly
Perfectly
Absolutely
Totally
Thoroughly
Almost
Mostly
Virtually
Mainly
Essentially
Practically 

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