about comparing abstract nouns

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Tourmaline

Senior Member
Hello forum members :)

I have studied the topic above, but it is still confusing.
It is one of the confusing parts that my language and English is delicately different. (I'm dying...)

Here is a situation:
Tom is a high school student, and he loves math.
He has studied math a lot and participated in school's applied math club. The club has montly special math exams.
Last week, his math club teacher said that the school is going to choose only two students for national math competition this year,
based on the grade of special math exam this month. So he is studying now harder and harder than before.
(Suppose that he loves to be one of those two students.)

(It's not a common situation.. I know. :p)

Now, if I want to say that his enthusiasm(or any abstract noun appropriate for this situation)
for this month's exam is greatest ever, how can I say?
I want to use 'enthusiasm' as a subject and comparative structure.. like this.

-> Tom's enthusiasm for this month's exam is higher(or greater) than that he has shown in previous exams.
-> Tom's enthusiasm for this month's exam is higher(or greater) than any other shown in previous exams.

How about this?
-> For this month's exam, Tom studied more enthusiastically than he did in (any other) previous exams.'

Are they correct? T-T..
Are you rarely using sentences to compare the degree/level of abstract nouns?
I eagerly want to understand this..


Thank you :)
 
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    I don't think it is rare at all. In AE I think it would be more common to hear or read:

    "Tom studied harder than ever for this month's exam."
    "Tom has never studied so hard for an exam as he did this month."
    "Tom is more enthusiastiic this month about studying for his math exam than ever before."

    I think the "in any other previous exams" is a little wordy and states something that can be said in fewer words. If he has never been so enthusiastic it logically follows that he has more enthusiasm than he had for any previous exams.
     

    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    EDIT: James has given much more natural-sounding alternatives above, but I will address the correctness of the original sentences.

    "Tom's enthusiasm for this month's exam is greater than that he has shown for previous exams."

    ("High" should not be used to describe enthusiasm in English.)

    "Tom's enthusiasm for this month's exam is greater than any other shown for previous exams."

    This would imply that Tom's enthusiasm was greater than that shown by any other person for any previous exam. Even then, it does not quite seem "right" to me.

    "For this month's exam, Tom studied more enthusiastically than he did for any previous exam(s)."

    This would strictly be correct, but it would still not be entirely natural.
     

    Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    So he is studying now harder and harder than before.
    (Suppose that he loves to be one of those two students.)

    (It's not a common situation.. I know. :p) Competition takes many forms, and you can find someone who is competitive about almost anything...

    Now, if I want to say that his enthusiasm(or any abstract noun appropriate for this situation)
    for this month's exam is greatest ever, how can I say?
    I want to use 'enthusiasm' as a subject and comparative structure. like this.

    -> Tom's enthusiasm for this month's exam is greater than he has shown in the past.
    -> Tom's enthusiasm for this month's exam is greater than at any other time.
    -> For this month's exam, Tom studied more enthusiastically than he did for any previous exam.'
    Why not say 'Tom is more enthusiastic than he has ever been before'?

    Are you rarely using sentences to compare the degree/level of abstract nouns? Comparisons and superlatives with abstract concepts are quite common in English, and I don't see any big problems with the comparisons in your sentences. It seems to me that you are having more difficulty expressing time and frequency.

    If you want more practice with comparisons, you might want to try this quiz and look up any phrases that you cause you problems.
     
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