Tastier than Vs. More delicious than

Discussion in 'English Only' started by sb70012, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    Hello teachers,
    These are gradable and non gradable adjectives.

    (tired=exhausted) - (pleased=delighted) - (angry=furious) - (cold=freezing) - (hot=boiling) - (tasty=delicious)
    (hungry = starving) - (exciting = thrilling) - (frightened = terrified)

    It's incorrect to use non gradable adjective with comparative or superlative form, although you use it in your daily conversations. I remember once I asked of some native English speakers whether they use the term "more delicious than..." or not. Some said "yes we use it" and some said "no we use tastier than...."

    I disagree with the first reply. In my opinion it's correct to say "tastier than" instead of "more delicious than"
    You know what bothers be a lot? This bothers me that when native English speakers use something in their daily conversations, they think it's correct because they use it. But let's think logically.
    Even, Longman Dictionary says: Delicious= very pleasant to taste or smell. (extremely pleasant)

    What's your opinion about these two sentences?

    "tastier than...."
    "more delicious than..."

    I had asked a question similar to this question in this thread but the topic was different.
    You can have look at it as well:Absolutely delicious Vs. Very delicious

    That's why I decided to post this question in a different thread.

    Many thanks in advance
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    How is this different from your previous thread, sb?
  3. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    The previous thread was mainly focused on very delicious and absolutely delicious.
    In this thread I want to gain some information about their comparative forms. I want to know what members think about the topic.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  4. Dexta Senior Member

    English (British and Australian)
    Ok, clearly this non gradable adjectives coupled with comparatives and superlatives is an affront to your Vulcanesque appreciation of and respect for logic.

    I don't have the slightest problem with 'more delicious than'. My mother makes an incredibly delicious spiced tea cake. But when my sister found a recipe for an Indonesian variation that surpassed it I quite humbly stated that my sister's cake was even more delicious than hers. Believe it or not, but none of the native speakers present suffered paroxysms of perplexity at my illogical outburst, on the contrary, they all agreed.

    When we communicate with others we need to strike a balance between formalism and emotive response. It is indeed acceptable to deliberately go against logic and grammar in order to inflect your communication with character, personality, individuality and style.

    So as anathema as it may be to your ears, we native speakers often enjoy breaking our own rules and defying logic in the spirit of idiosyncratic expression.

    On behalf of the 360 million native speakers of English, I apologise for any rational discomfort our linguistic habits have thus far or may yet induce.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  5. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    Thanks for answering Dexta.
    I know that it's (more delicious) is used these days but do you agree with me that it's incorrect?

    If you check all dictionaries for the meaning of the word delicious, you will see:

    Delicious: very pleasant to taste or smell (extremely pleasant or enjoyable).
    Tasty: food that is tasty has a good taste.

    Source: Longman Dictionary

    Delicious: having a very pleasing taste or smell.
    Tasty: having a strong and pleasant flavour.

    Source: Oxford Dictionary

    See .... my friend. Delicious is the last degree. I accept that (more delicious) is used in your conversations but in my opinion it's incorrect.
    Do you agree with me with this aspect?
  6. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England

    I think that you are looking for absolute rules whereas there is only guidance.

    There are very, very few adjectives that are absolutely ungradable – off-hand, I can only think of one – unique – and that is because it means “only one of its kind” and, therefore, by definition cannot be graded as it cannot be compared with anything else.

    There are strongly ungradable adjectives and weakly ungradable adjectives.

    The other problem is with such words as “absolutely” and “freezing”

    Absolutely can be and is used as an intensifier: “It’s absolutely freezing out there!” = “It is <intensifier> cold out there!”

    Freezing = (i) at 0 deg C (ii) very cold.

    If we take “dead” – you would think that “He was very dead” would not be possible but, given the context, it is fine:

    “Sam Spade walked in the room where he expected to find Smith but Smith was dead, very dead. Whoever had done the job had shot Smith five times in the head and cut his throat.”

    Here “dead” is being used as a comparable condition to other murder victims and corpses that Sam Spade had seen.

    Or pregnant:

    “The woman stood up and I saw she was pregnant, incredibly pregnant. I was afraid to cough lest I set off her contractions.”

    Here “pregnant” is used to describe not the condition but the shape of the woman; the shape that has been caused by pregnancy.

    So, as I said, “I think that you are looking for absolute rules whereas there is only guidance.”
  7. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    Yes but sometimes dictionaries give us so clear definitions that it becomes clear whether an adjective is in highest degree (non gradable) or not. Like:

    Delicious: very pleasant to taste or smell (extremely pleasant or enjoyable).
    Tasty: food that is tasty has a good taste.

    Source: Longman Dictionary

    Delicious: having a very pleasing taste or smell.
    Tasty: having a strong and pleasant flavour.

    Source: Oxford Dictionary

    Anyway, thank you very much dear Paul. It was useful.
  8. Dexta Senior Member

    English (British and Australian)
    but do you agree with me that it's incorrect?

    I am sorry but I do not. I think we have divergent appreciations and expectations of the gift of language.

    "There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts obscure the truth."
    Maya Angelou
  9. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    But the dictionaries say (delicious)= very pleasing smell. Then it indicates that the adjective is in its highest degree.
    Ok no problem. Thanks for answering.
    Best wishes.
  10. Dexta Senior Member

    English (British and Australian)
    But the dictionaries say

    Yes, the dictionaries will give you the facts, the native speakers will give you the truth. That is why we are all here.

    No-one learned a language properly, naturally by the use of dictionaries alone.
  11. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    The native speakers should follow the dictionaries. If they themselves create their own style of speaking, there will remain nothing but confusing conditions like this thread.:)

    Best wishes
  12. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
    If something is defined as very xxxx, this doesn't mean that you can't call it even more...
    For example, if you define fascinating as very interesting, you could say I found his book (even) more fascinating.
    But I would avoid saying very fascinating.

    Grammar books differ on what they describe as gradable and non-gradable adjectives.For one thing, it is not easy to find agreement on this topic.
  13. Dexta Senior Member

    English (British and Australian)
    The native speakers should follow the dictionaries.

    So I can only conclude that you would insist upon the same from any Persian native speaker and would seek to abolish poetry and literature and style and any form of discourse that did not strictly adhere to the mundane strictures of literal dictionary definitions.

    "A man in love, no matter what he says, the smell of love wafts love-ward from his mouth".

    Love has no smell. Love can't waft.There is no such thing as 'love-ward'.

    Clearly Rumi was in desperate need of a good Persian dictionary!
  14. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    Have you ever wondered why there are many dictionaries? Surely, one reason is that the editors of one dictionary will have slightly different definitions. And some will give different advice.
    To me, none of those definitions make it clear whether the adjective is gradable or not.

    A: "Did you like the salmon?"
    B: "Yes, it was delicious/tasty."
    A: "How delicious/tasty was it?"
    B: "It was very delicious/tasty."
  15. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    Every person's fingerprints are unique, but all 7 billion of us have fingerprints made up of roundish loops and whorls so in a way you are not very unique as your fingerprints are loops and whorls just like everyone else's. What if you found a group of people whose fingerprints were rectangles and triangles, wouldn't they be more unique? And then you found a monk in the high in the Himalayas whose fingerprints spell out a verse in Sanskrit, ... ;)
  16. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    Each one would be unique. In the same way you can have a unique work of art but many works of art. You cannot compare a solitary, and individual example with anything else. This prevents that thing from being graded.
    In this case, it would be fallacious to classify loops ans whorls as "unique" - they are not. It is the pattern which is "unique", not the constituents of the pattern.

    I am unsure whether you are applying "unique" to the people or their fingerprints:

    The people would be a unique group defined by the rectangles and triangles of their fingerprints.

    The fingerprints would be unique as a group of fingerprints defined by the the rectangles and triangles.

    Then he would be unique by virtue of the fact that the fingerprints were actually comprehensible -> mine and yours aren't.

    It is perfectly possible to have a unique set or a unique solitary object and, by definition, it (the set or object) is incomparable and thus cannot be qualified. We cannot add apples to oranges.
  17. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    "In the beginning were the Dictionaries. And once the humans evolved and realized they could speak, they consulted the Dictionaries before they uttered the first Words. But there were many Dictionaries and they did not all say the same things and the people were confused. So some people used some words differently and against the teachings of other Dictionaries. And so they went to war. In the middle of the biggest battle, a great leader asked "Who created those Dictionaries and why are they so dogmatic and why do they provide guidance and call it "law"? "Sire," his second in command said, "it is to prevent our enemies from learning our language as the natives speak it, so we will be free from invasion." But the great leader felt pity on those learners and created a forum where they could ask questions like "What is the true language?" and "How should I understand this "Dictionary Entry".

    So here we are, helping to expand the knowledge and understanding of the languages for which the dictionaries can only provide succinct, and often over-generalized information. :D
  18. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    Thank you all. Then I will follow what you do.
    They were useful.

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