doubling of the consonant or not (comparatives, superlatives

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Snoopy59100

Senior Member
Française, France
Hello everyone,

I'm working on comparatives and superlatives at the moment and I'm getting confused with the doubling of the ending consonant... I came across this rule: If the word (adjective) has more than one syllable, the finale consonant has to be doubled only if the ending syllable is stressed.
But what about the adjective 'malign' for example? Could you give me an example of adjective for which this rule works? Because I haven't found any so far...

Thanks a lot!
 
  • sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm pretty sure this isn't an adjective.

    Could you give us examples of other adjectives you don't understand the rule for?
    Hello to Nottingham from Derby.

    I don't agree, I'm afraid. It's possible to say "a malign influence", so "malign" must be an adjective in this case. That's not to say that it isn't also a verb.

    I am not familiar with the "rule" referred to in post no. 1. It could be useful to know where this "rule" appears.
     

    bluegiraffe

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hello to Nottingham from Derby.

    I don't agree, I'm afraid. It's possible to say "a malign influence", so "malign" must be an adjective in this case. That's not to say that it isn't also a verb.
    That's OK, I forgive you! I've never heard it used. I thought I'd heard "maligned"... So how would you form a comparative or superlative from malign. A maligner influence? A more malign influence?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'm working on comparatives and superlatives at the moment and I'm getting confused with the doubling of the ending consonant... I came across this rule: If the word (adjective) has more than one syllable, the finale consonant has to be doubled only if the ending syllable is stressed.
    But what about the adjective 'malign' for example? Could you give me an example of adjective for which this rule works? Because I haven't found any so far...
    Snoopy, I think your rule is more useful for adding endings to verbs than for forming comparatives and superlatives of two-syllabled adjectives.

    I can't think of any two-syllabled adjectives ending consonant-vowel-consonant where the comparative would be formed by adding -er and doubling the final consonant. Most two-syllabled adjectives form the comparative with "more", the main exceptions being adjectives ending in -y,
    -le, -er, -ow.

    Malign would not in any case come under your rule, because it ends in two consonants, not one.
     
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    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    Off the top of my head, I can't think of any two-syllable adjectives where it is necessary to double the end consonant to make comparatives and superlatives. I would have thought it more common with shorter adjectives like "big", "fat", "thin", etc. Longer adjectives tend to use more and most, rather than -er and -est endings anyway.
    Malign ends with two consonants anyway and I think more malign and most malign would be the correct form. I've never seen maligner and malignest - they seem strange.
    A good general rule is that if a vowel is followed by a single consonant and then a vowel it affects the pronunciation of the first vowel (and in some cases the consonant). "Biger" for example would be pronounced "baijer" whereas the first syllable of "bigger" retains the pronunciation "big".
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I don't understand what this rule is supposed to mean. Can you give some examples of what it refers to?
    It works for verbs ending consonant-vowel-consonant, picarooney, except in the special {BrE} case of 'l':

    offer: stress on first syllable > don't double: offering, offered
    prefer: stress on last syllable > double: preferring, preferred.

    But as I said above, I don't think it works for two-syllabled adjectives.
     

    Snoopy59100

    Senior Member
    Française, France
    I'm sure that 'malign' is an adjective, although it can be a verb as well... Actually I found one word in which case the rule does NOT work because the last syllable of the adjective is not stressed (= stupid) but I can think of one for which it works. I assume this rule is not complete... Maybe it's not only a matter of stressed or unstressed but also a matter of vowel + consonant or something? I really don't know... :confused:
     

    Snoopy59100

    Senior Member
    Française, France
    Okay, I found my rule again.... It says that adding -er or -est involves a change in spelling. Here is the rule: you have to double any final consonant (except "w") that follows a simple spelling vowel(here I'm translating the French 'voyelle orthographique".. I have no idea about what it means) in a stressed syllable.
    So, big becomes bigger but neat becomes neater and stupid becomes stupidest.
    I would just like to find out a 2-syllabled adjective where it works because this rule is supposed to work for all short adjectives (except exceptions of course...). But if there isn't any, then... Good for me!
     
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