Comparable and Non-comparable Adjectives
Descriptive adjectives are categorized into two main groups including: classifying adjectives and qualifying adjectives. We will learn more in this lesson.
When we talk of adjectives, we normally mean 'descriptive adjectives.' Descriptive adjectives can be categorized into two main groups based on whether they can be modified or compared:
- Qualifying Adjectives (comparable adjectives), e.g. big, nice
- Classifying Adjectives (non-comparable adjectives) e.g. married, dead
What Are Comparable Adjectives?
Comparable adjectives are those that can be modified by -er/more or -est/most. In other words, they can have comparative and superlative forms.
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They can also be modified by intensifiers and mitigators.
But we cannot say:
Common Comparable Adjectives
What Are Non-comparable Adjectives?
Non-comparable Adjectives (also called absolute adjectives) are adjectives with a meaning that cannot be compared or intensified.
We cannot use -er/more or -est/most with non-comparable adjectives. Also, we cannot use intensifiers or mitigators with them.
Common Non-comparable Adjectives
Here are some of the most common non-comparable adjectives:
Although it is grammatically incorrect to use intensifiers such as very, quite, and most to uncomparable adjectives, you might see it in informal contexts.
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People sometimes use 'very' with 'unique', but this use is often considered to be incorrect.
What Modifiers Are Allowed?
You can use these modifiers with absolute adjectives in informal contexts:
Take a look at some examples:
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