good, bad: comparative, superlative

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Marga H, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. Marga H Senior Member

    Hello everybody,
    In each language I know a little the comparison of good and bad is irregular(in spite of fact that English and Polish for exemple haven't got much in common)I'm just curious:does anybody know any exception?What about non european languages?
    English : good,better,the best
    bad,worse,the worst
    French: bon,meilleur,le meilleur
    mal,pire,le pire
    Polish: dobry,lepszy,najlepszy
    More exemples are wanted.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Chazzwozzer

    Chazzwozzer Senior Member

    iyi, daha iyi, en iyi

    kötü, daha kötü, en kötü

    is also used to mean worse.
  3. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Comparatives in Portuguese are done by means of the adverb mais (more) before the adjective:
    bonito - mais bonito (pretty - prettier)
    And superlatives using o mais (the most) instead
    bonito - o mais bonito (pretty - the prettiest)

    Irregular adjectives do exist, but are very few. I can only think of:
    bom - melhor - o melhor (good - better - the best)
    mau - pior - o pior (bad - worse - the worst)
    pequeno - menor - o menor (small - smaller - the smallest)
    grande - maior - o maior (big - bigger - the biggest)
  4. ronanpoirier

    ronanpoirier Senior Member

    Porto Alegre
    Brazil - Portuguese
    In Hungarian, the comparative is made by adding -bb to the end of the adjective, following the rules of vowels harmony.
    Csendes - Csendesebb (Silent - more silent)

    The superlative is made by adding leg- to the adjective in the comparative .
    A legcsendesebb (the most silent)

    There are some irregular constructions. About "good" and "bad" we'd have:
    - Jobb - A Legjobb (good - better - the best)
    Rossz - Rosszabb - A legrosszabb (bad - worse - the worst)
    Those are not irreegular.
    An irregular example:
    Szép - szebb - A legszebb (beautiful - more beautiful - the most beautiful)
    And another irregular example:
    Kicsi - Kisebb - A legkisebb (small - smaller - the smallest)

    Corrections, please.
  5. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    In German, the comparison of "good" (gut) is regular, whereas the one of "bad" (schlecht) is totally regular:

    gut - besser - am besten
    schlecht - schlechter - am schlechtesten
  6. DrWatson

    DrWatson Senior Member


    As in German, good is irregular and bad is regular.

    Hyvä - parempi - paras (colloquially it's conjugated regularly: hyvä - *hyvempi - *hyvin)

    Paha - pahempi - pahin (sometimes translates to evil instead of bad)
    Huono - huonompi - huonoin

    There are some differences between paha and huono. E.g:
    Minulla on paha maku suussa = I have a bad taste in my mouth
    Sinulla on huono maku vaatteiden suhteen = You have a bad taste concerning clothes.
  7. Insider Senior Member

    Ukraine (Ukrainian)
    In Ukrainian:

    добрий - кращий - найкращий (dobryj - kraschyj - najkraschyj)

    поганий - гірший - найгірший (poganyj - girshyj - najgirshyj)
  8. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu

    अच्छा/اچها (achChaa)- बेहतर/بہتر (behtar) - ([सब से] बेहतरीन)/ا(سب سے) بہترين([sab se] behtareen)

    (so the last two are kind of related. "sab se" (for the superlative) literally means "from all" (of them), so it's a bit like saying "the best from them all")


    સારુ (saaru) - વધારે સારુ (vadhaaray saaru) - બદ્ધા કરતાં સારુ (baddhaa kartaa saaru)

    Not quite the same concept here - "saaru" obviously means "good" - the comparitive is just "vadhaaray saaru" which literally means "more good". The superlative is "baddhaa kartaa saaru" which literally translates to "good than all" :p.
  9. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but in ARABIC, it is:

    جيد (jayyidun) - افضل (afDalu) - الأفضل (al-afDalu)

    The idea in Arabic is that the comparitive and superlative are the same. The comparative in any language is often followed by the idea of "than" (e.g. better than, bigger than, sweeter than, etc) - this idea is expressed in Arabic by using من (min). Obviously sometimes it is not followed by "than" - in which case a sentence like "This is better" would just be "هذا افضل" (haadhaa afDalu) and "This is the best" would have the definite article prefix "al" (i.e. "هذا الأفضل" (haadha 'l-afDalu) - just like French :)

    edit - I forgot to mention that the above is only for masculine. If feminine, it would be: جيدة (jayyidatun) - افضل (afDalu) - الأفضل (al-afDalu)
    (normal adjective changes by adding ة/ـة, but the comparitive & superlative remain the same)
  10. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    They have irregular comparison in Serbian as well:

    dobar, bolji, najbolji / добар, бољи, најбољи (good, better, the best)
    loš, gori, najgori / лош, гори, најгори (bad, worse, the worst).
  11. robbie_SWE

    robbie_SWE Senior Member

    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    In Romanian the comparison of adjectives is EXTREMELY difficult (I think anyway that it is)!!! There are many ways of comparing adjectives, I'll try to stick to the biggest in relation to the topic.

    bun - mai bun - cel (m.)/cea (f.) mai bun(ă):
    cei (mpl.)/cele (fpl.) /buni(e)

    rău/rea - mai rău/rea - cel (m.)/cea (f.)mai rău/rea:
    cei (mpl.)/cele (fpl.) rei/rele

    Does this make any sense?? In the superlativ you can also use the following:

    foarte/tare/extrem de/cât se poate de bun/rau

    I'll stop now before all of you get headaches! :D

    In Swedish, it's much easier.

    bra - bättre - bäst
    dålig - sämre - sämst or dålig - dåligare - dåligast (but this is not all that conventional)

    :) robbie
  12. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    So, why "afDalu" and not "afDalun?" :)

    A normal adjective:
    kabiir (كبير) - akbar (أكبر) - al-akbar (اللأكبر)
    masculine: big - bigger - biggest

    kabiira (كبيرة) - akbar (أكبر) - al-kubraa (الكبرى)
    feminine: big - bigger - biggest

    According to this pattern, good - better - best in the feminine form would be:

    jayyidatun (جيدة) - afDalun (أفضل) - fuDlaa (فضلى)

    (although I doubt this is correct :D)
  13. moldo

    moldo Senior Member

    Dutch, Netherlands
    Likewise in Dutch:

    goed - beter - het beste
    slecht - slechter - het slechtste
  14. Etcetera

    Etcetera Senior Member

    St Petersburg, Russia
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    It's the same in Russian.
    Хороший, лучший, наилучший
    Плохой, худший, наихудший.
  15. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Because it's a mamnuu3 min aS-Sarf ممنوع من الصرف. Such word don't get tanwiin, and when they are majruur, they take a fat7a instead of a kasra.
    To answer the other part of the thread's question, the comparative adjectives for bad are :
    سيء - أسوأ - الأسوأ
    sayyi2 , aswa2 , al-aswa2
    So, there's no real change.
  16. betulina Senior Member

    al bressol del basquetbol
    català - Catalunya
    In Catalan they can be regular and irregular:

    good --> bo - millor - el millor (irreg.)/ bo - més bo - el més bo (reg.)

    bad --> dolent - pitjor - el pitjor (irreg.)/ dolent - més dolent - el més dolent (reg.)

    In Spanish it's the same case, they can be regular and irregular:

    good --> bueno - mejor - el mejor (irreg.)/ bueno - más bueno - el más bueno (reg.)

    bad --> malo - peor - el peor (irreg.)/ malo - más malo - el más malo (reg.)

    I think that in both languages we use one or the other depending on the context.
  17. ronanpoirier

    ronanpoirier Senior Member

    Porto Alegre
    Brazil - Portuguese
    In Portuguese, those examples may get the regular form (mais pequeno, mais grande, etc.) if we are comparing two things about the same being. Explaining better: we'd say "ele é mais grande do que gordo" instead of "ele é maior do que gordo". This last sentence would have a different meaning.
    "ele é mais grande do que gordo" = "he's 'more big' than fat"
    "ele é maior do que gordo" = "he is 'bigger' than fat" (This would mean something like he's bigger than a fat person. But to make it clear the indefinitie article "um" should be placed before "gordo").
  18. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
  19. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    Like cherine said, it is a diptote (ممنوع من الصرف) :)

    Hope you don't mind me being a bit nitpicky by showing the "proper" endings :).

    "fuDlaa" sounds very strange to my ears and I highly doubt whether this is right. In fact I'm sure it isn't.

    *"al-akbar(u)" is الأكبر and not اللأكير :);)
  20. Abu Bishr Senior Member

    Afrikaans, South Africa
    "fuDlaa" is the feminine form of "afDalu" but has very restricted uses. For example you cannot use it with مِن ("min" than) as you would use it with "afDalu". It is mostly used when prefixed with (أل) as an adjective e.g. البنت الفضلى . Other more common examples of this form are: الأسماء الحُسْنَى , السماوات العُلْيا or الدنيا like in الحياة الدنيا or السماء الدنيا or السلطة العليا (the highest power / authority). All of these superlatives occur on the pattern of فُعْلَى (and should the word's actual ending already be a ya' then the subsequent ya' is then changed into an alif to prevent two ya's from meeting.

    I hope this clarifies the point of "fuDla"
  21. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    wow.. thanks so much for that! "fuDlaa" sounded laughable to me, but now I know :D:)

    Just a side thing - I have a friend called "fuDail" (فضيل) - what would this mean? Just "the best"?
    Gramatically speaking, how would you explain this?
  22. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I agree with all you said. But I have a tiny correction: as السماوات is plural, we should use the plural of العليا which is العُلَى . (in the Qur'an السماوات العلى ).
    On the the pattern there is الأمثل (= the optimum or the best), the feminine is المُثْلَى .
  23. Abu Bishr Senior Member

    Afrikaans, South Africa
    Hi Linguist 786

    The point is that you very seldom use "fuDla" without "أل" and never with "من" . So that is a good rule to go by. It appears to me as if you only had a problem with "fuDla" rather than the pattern as a whole. As for the side thing, it is the diminutive form of فَضْل like حُمَيْد , حُسَيْن , سُهَيْل (all of which are names in this case). Diminutives are often used to express endearments as somthing small is more endearing than something big.

    Both are acceptable العلى and العليا as the feminine plural (esp. for non-intelligent beings) can use both feminine singular or feminine plural as an adjective:

    See following Quranic examples:

    أياماً معدودة and أياما معدودات

    من آياتنا الكبرى and إنها لَإحدى الكُبَر

    and remeber الأسماء is also plural, but we say: الأسماء الحسنى and الصفات العليا or الصفات العُلى .
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2015
  24. Marga H Senior Member

    Thanks very much for all replies!
  25. Abu Bishr Senior Member

    Afrikaans, South Africa

    goed - beter - beste

    sleg - slegter - slegste
  26. neli New Member

    In slovenian language
    dober- boljši- najboljši (good, better, the best)
    slab- slabši- najslabši (bad, worse, the worst)
    majhen- manjši- najmanjši (small, smaller, the smallest)
    velik- večji- največji (big, biger, the biggest)
  27. oveka Senior Member

    Ukraine, Ukrainian
    добрий - кращий - найкращий - щонайкращий
    поганий - гірший - найгірший- щонайгірший
  28. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Modern Greek:

    Positive: «Καλός, -λή, -λό» [kaˈlɔs] (masc.), [kaˈli] (fem.), [kaˈlɔ] (neut.) --> good
    Comparative: «Καλύτερος. -ρη, -ρο» [kaˈli.te.ɾɔs] (masc.), [kaˈli.te.ɾi] (fem.), [kaˈli.te.ɾɔ] (neut.) --> better
    Superlative: «Κάλλιστος, -στη, -στο» [ˈka.lis.tɔs] (masc.), [ˈka.lis.ti] (fem.), [ˈka.lis.tɔ] (neut.) --> best

    Positive: «Κακός, -κή, -κό» [kaˈkɔs] (masc.), [kaˈci] (fem.), [kaˈkɔ] (neut.) --> bad
    Comparative: «Χειρότερος, -ρη, -ρο» [çiˈɾɔ.te.ɾɔs] (masc.), [çiˈɾɔ.te.ɾi] (fem.), [çiˈɾɔ.te.ɾɔ] (neut.) --> worse
    (1) «Χείριστος, -στη, -στο» [ˈçi.ɾis.tɔs] (masc.), [ˈçi.ɾis.ti] (fem.), [ˈçi.ɾis.tɔ] (neut.)
    (2) «Κάκιστος, -στη, -στο» [ˈka.cis.tɔs] (masc.), [ˈka.cis.ti] (fem.), [ˈka.cis.tɔ] (neut.) --> worst

    Ancient Greek:

    Positive: «Καλός, -λή, -λόν» kălós (masc.), kălḗ (fem.), kălón (neut.) --> good
    (1) «Καλλίων, -ίων, -ιον» kăllíōn (masc. & fem.), kắlliŏn (neut.)
    (2) «Βελτίων, -ίων, -ιον» bĕltíōn (masc. & fem.), béltiŏn (neut.) --> better
    (1) «Κάλλιστος, -ίστη, -στον» kắllistŏs (masc.), kăllístē (fem.), kắllistŏn (neut.)
    (2) «Βέλτιστος, -στη, -στον» béltistŏs (masc.), bĕltístē (fem.), béltistŏn --> best

    Positive: «Κακός, -κή, -κόν» kăkós (masc.), kăkḗ (fem.), kăkón (neut.) --> bad
    (1) «Κακίων, -ίων, -ιον» kăkíōn (masc. & fem.), kắkiŏn (neut.)
    (2) «Χείρων, -ρων, -ρον» kʰeí̯rōn (masc. & fem.), kʰeî̯rŏn (neut.) --> worse
    (1) «Κάκιστος, -στη, -στον» kắkistŏs (masc.), kăkístē (fem.), kắkistŏn (neut.)
    (2) «Χείριστος, -στη, -στον» kʰeí̯ristŏs (masc.), kʰei̯rístē (fem.), kʰeí̯ristŏn (neut.)
    (3) «Ἥκιστος, -στη, -στον» hḗkistŏs (masc.), hēkístē (fem.), hḗkistŏn (neut.) --> worst
  29. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    London, UK
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I'm surprised no one corrected you!

    It's جيّد (jayyidun) - أجود (ajwadu) - الأجود (al-ajwadu)
    and فاضل (faaDilun) - أفضل (afDalu) - الأفضل (al-afDalu)

    You mixed two words, you used the basic adjective from one and used the comparative and superlative from another.

    No, it does not mean that. فضيل (faDeel) has the same meaning as فاضل except that the word implies a permanent or inherent trait in the person (or thing) described. Basically it means "good" but not as simple as that, it has deeper meaning. Grammatically it's called صفة مشبهة باسم الفاعل. The name you gave is a diminutive of faDeel.
  30. anahiseri

    anahiseri Senior Member

    Valencia, Spain
    Spanish (Spain) and German (Germany)
    In Spanish, the regular form of "malo" (bad), that is, "más malo" sounds acceptable to me, but I would say "más bueno" (better), though common in colloquial speech, is not correct.
  31. nimak

    nimak Member


    In Macedonian there is no irregular compassion.
    Comparatives are formed with по+adjective
    Superlatives are formed with нај+adjective

    In Macedonian there is also so called "absolute superlative" expressing the highest quality without comparison.
    Absolute superlatives are formed with пре+adjective

    good = добар (dobar) ['dɔbar]
    better = подобар (podobar) ['pɔdɔbar]
    the best = најдобар (najdobar) ['najdɔbar]
    Absolute superlative: предобар (predobar) ['prɛdɔbar] = very good; too good

    bad = лош (loš) ['ɫɔʃ]
    worse = полош (pološ) ['pɔɫɔʃ]
    the worst = најлош (najloš) ['najɫɔʃ]
    Absolute superlative: прелош (preloš) ['prɛɫɔʃ] = very bad; too bad

    Only one adjective in Macedonian has an irregular comparative: многу (mnogu).
    многу (mnogu) ['mnɔgu] = a lot
    повеќе (povee) ['pɔvɛcɛ] = more
    најмногу (najmnogu) ['najmnɔgu] = the most
    Absolute superlative: премногу (premnogu) ['prɛmnɔgu] = very much; too much
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  32. AndrasBP

    AndrasBP Senior Member

    Budapest, Hungary
    Remarkably, there are no irregular adjectives in Lithuanian:
    comparatives are formed with -esnis (masc. sing. nom.)
    superlatives are formed with -iausias (masc. sing. nom.)

    geras - geresnis - geriausias (good - better - best)
    blogas - blogesnis - blogiausias (bad - worse - worst)
  33. Circunflejo Senior Member

    Castellano de Castilla
    It depends on context (think, for example, about más bueno/a que el pan). Take a look at the 2b) at the DPD:
  34. Sardokan1.0

    Sardokan1.0 Senior Member

    Sardu / Italianu
    In Sardinian and in Italian it works in the same way of Spanish.

    Italian :

    Buono = good -> Più buono = (literally) more good | Migliore = better (from Latin "melior")
    Cattivo = bad -> Più cattivo = more bad | Peggiore = worst (from Latin "peior")

    Sardinian :

    Bonu = good -> Piùs bonu = more good | Mèzus = best, better (from Latin "melius")
    Malu = bad -> Piùs malu = more bad | Pèus = worse, worst (from Latin "peius")
  35. symposium Senior Member

    Italian - Italy
    Let's not forget "ottimo = the best" and "pessimo = the worst".
  36. elroy

    elroy Imperfect Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Modern Standard Arabic:

    As was said above, "good, better, best" is جيد، أفضل، الأفضل (jayyid, afḍal, al-afḍal). I guess this could be considered "irregular"; specifically, the comparative and superlative forms are based on a different adjective, فاضل (fāḍil). جيد (jayyid) does have its own comparative and superlative forms, أجود، الأجود (ajwad, al-ajwad), but they're rarely used.

    "Bad, worse, worst" is regular: سيّء، أسوء، الأسوء (sayyiʿ, aswaʿ, al-ʿaswaʿ).

    Palestinian Arabic:

    "good, better, best": منيح/كويّس، أحسن، أحسن إشي/واحد (mnīḥ/kwayyes, aḥsan, aḥsan iši/wāḥad). This is the same situation as in MSA. The comparative and superlative forms are based on the adjective حسن (ḥasan), which is used in MSA but not in Palestinian Arabic

    "bad, worse, worst": This one is interesting. The default way to say "bad" is literally مش منيح (miš mnīḥ), which literally means "not good." Another word that is used in some contexts is عاطل (ʾāṭel), which has regular comparative and superlative forms: أعطل، أعطل إشي/واحد (aʾṭal, aʾṭal iši/wāḥad). Otherwise, there is no default way to say "worse, worst." Various words are used depending on the context -- for example, أنحس، أنحس إشي/واحد (anḥas, anḥas iši/wāḥad), from the adjective نحس (niḥes).
  37. Awwal12

    Awwal12 Senior Member

    Moscow, the RF
    Yes, but Russian at least allows to avoid the suppletivity in the superlative form ("самый хороший", ~"most good"). Technically, it does so for the comparative as well, except people normally don't say it that way ("более хороший", ~"more good").

    I must note that the superlative forms in "наи-" are generally sort of bookish in Russian. Otherwise, the superlative form is the same as the comparative one (here it's "лучший", "худший" - and I'd say it is the most expected meaning of these words; Russian syntax generally avoids their comparative use), or "analytic" ("самый хороший", "самый плохой"), or "redundant" ("самый лучший", "самый худший" - although these forms are frowned upon by philologists), or "ultra-redundant" ("самый наилучший", "самый наихудший" - generally used for putting a strong emphasis, purely colloquial and pretty rare).

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