more/most

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Hi anyone,
I've some doubts concerning the use of the superlative and comparative.
Is it correct to use for short adjectives the more/most form?
For example is it correct to use:
ciccio is more tall than pippo?
thanks a bunch!
yours sincerely.

D. Quatraro
 
  • Thanks SwissPete.
    Do you actually mean that whether is a human being you should
    use -er/-est (with their exceptions), but if it's an object/animal
    you are also allowed to use more/most?
    E.g.
    this cat is more fat than that one.
    Thanks a bunch!

    Diego
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I believe the general rule is simpler (although there are always exceptions). In general, use "-er" and "-est" with words of one or two syllables; use "more" and "most" with words of three syllables or more. It really doesn't matter whether the noun is a human, an animal or an object.

    Pretty (2 syllables) / prettier / prettiest
    Beautiful (3 syllables) / more beatiful / most beautiful

    High (1 syllable) / higher / highest
    Elevated (4 syllables) / more elevated / most elevated

    "Tall', being a one-syllable word, uses "-er" and "-est".
     
    The practice stays the same regardless of whether you are referring to a person, or an animal, or an inanimate thing.

    John is bigger than Tom.
    An elephant is bigger than a cat.
    A house is bigger than a bicycle.

    It would be unnatural to say "more big" (or more fat, or more tall, or more wide) in any circumstance, regardless of what was being described.
     

    Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    Thanks SwissPete.
    Do you actually mean that whether is a human being you should
    use -er/-est (with their exceptions), but if it's an object/animal
    you are also allowed to use more/most?
    E.g.
    this cat is more fat than that one.
    Thanks a bunch!

    Diego
    Sorry, Kachiri's post #4 is wrong. It is never correct to say 'more tall than' when describing anything (person, animal, building). Of course this rule only applies to adjectives for which a comparative form exists. With a word such as 'expensive', which takes no -er ending for the comparative and no -est ending in the superlative, we do of course say 'more expensive' / 'most expensive'.
     

    Kachiri

    New Member
    Mexican spanish
    "er" is for comparissons between 2 people and "st" it is used for something that exceeds everything else
     

    Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    "er" is for comparissons between 2 people and "st" it is used for something that exceeds everything else
    I wonder where you got this idea from, Kachiri? Is it something you have perhaps misunderstood in a grammar book? There is absolutely no connection between the '-er' ending and people. We say 'This house is taller than that one', 'his car is longer than mine', 'a mouse is smaller than a rat', etc, etc.
     
    Last edited:

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    "er" is for comparissons between 2 people and "st" it is used for something that exceeds everything else
    Yes, but it applies to humans, animals and objects. The two-syllable-or-shorter rule is the easiest one I've found:

    That load is heavy / heavier than this load / the heaviest load.
    That load is unbalanced / more unbalanced than this load / the most unbalanced load.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There is nothing about the -er form that limits its use to two of anything.

    James is taller than the other boys in his class.
    James is the tallest boy in his class.

    I think Kachiri is confusing the general use of comparative and superlative with their specific use.

    If I have one brother and he is older than me, I am the younger son in the family.
    If I have more than one brother and they are all older than me, I am the youngest son in the family.

    Younger of two, youngest of three or more.

    But also notice that red "older".
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    "More tall" is not an impossible combination, but it does not mean "taller":

    A thin man lying down is still more [likely to be called] tall than wide.
    It is more [often] tall that we say of buildings, and high of mountains.
    More tall people [than short people] bump their heads on this low-hanging rock.

     
    "er" is for comparissons between 2 people and "st" it is used for something that exceeds everything else
    Kachiri, the comparative form is used when considering two, but it need not be two persons; it can also be two things.

    Take the larger box.
    Put the letter in the smaller envelope.

    You can also compare a thing to something else that is not actually there.

    I want a fabric with thinner stripes.
    Is there a newer model?
    This water is too cold to use for making tea; you need to use water that is hotter.
     
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