35

The use of elder is restricted to compare human beings, mostly in family relationships. The one who is elder is the one who was born first. This is my elder sister Betty. You cannot substitute elder for older at all times. Elder can only be used for people, when used for things, it is meant as a special figure of speech involving personification, so ...


13

@J.R. is absolutely correct, and has provided an excellent example of the kind of ambiguity that can result when basic comparative adjective grammar rules are not followed. But the basic, teachable, and, in an EFL/ESL context, extremely relevant reason that bigger is correct, and more big is ungrammatical as a comparative adjective is because those rules ...


12

Less, lesser, and littler are all comparative forms of little. They are used like this: little - littler - littlest when you mean "small in size" little - less - least when you mean "small in amount" little - lesser - least when you mean "inferior or smaller in importance" So if you mean one quantity or number is smaller than another, you say "less ...


11

Careful! When you use the word more, it might mean something else. For example, Sentence B could be paraphrased like this: The Indian elephant has two big ears, but the African elephant has three. Don't use more when the context can be confused with quantity.


9

In this case, it's referring to the number of times they did go to school. The more is in comparison to whatever the reality of the situation actually is. For instance: However many vegetables you eat, you can always eat more. Or, in the sentence in question: It was because they were sorry, too, that they had not gone to school more [than they did]. ...


7

It was because they were sorry, too, that they had not gone to school more. This is a grammatical sentence whose meaning is clear. When more is used this way - “they didn’t do X more” it means “they didn’t do X more than they did”. To be more explicit, for this particular sentence: It was because they were sorry, too, that they had not gone to school ...


6

I generally agree with most of the quirky rules in the other answers. However, I'd like to add: in American English, the adjective elder seems practically antiquated. Eldest is still common, e.g. as in "the eldest son". Even the noun elder, i.e. when referring to the older people in a person's life ("their elders"), is common. The adjective elder, however, ...


6

This is not exactly an answer. This is an explanation of how one native speaker thinks about this. Hopefully this will stimulate someone to post a better answer, maybe disproving what I say below. Not that rule I do not think about -er vs. more in terms of a rule regarding the number of syllables. Some people say that one-syllable words get -er and multi-...


5

Elder can be used to indicate someone or something of higher rank or greater influence. The elder member of a group may not always be the oldest member of that group. Older and elder both imply having greater age than something or someone else.


5

SHORT VERSION: Don’t use it. LONG VERSION: In your first example not quite better is not parsed as [not][quite better] but as [not quite][better]; that is, not quite is a fixed expression meaning ‘almost’, ‘falling just short of’. This is fine. But this not quite does not behave the same way as bare quite. Quite ADJer is and not unknown, but it is very ...


4

'Why?' is a difficult question in grammar. It's not like some great designer created the language out of thin error, planning and constructing things to be as logical as possible. Some grammar rules apply everywhere, and some rules have exceptions, and those exceptions have exceptions, except when people feel like saying something else. The rule for ...


4

This is not a rare use: it implies that Havel, although not perhaps one of the most fascinating 20th-century politicians, was among those who were more fascinating than ordinary politicians.


3

I'm a native speaker and an English teacher. Since I don't know the context or the intended use of the sentence, it's a little hard to answer. If you want to restate it without the comparative, you could say: The incident hardly made an impact on his other preoccupations. The incident hardly made an impact on his great preoccupations.


3

The term 'outweigh' - to exceed in weight, value, or importance - is generally used when the advantages make the disadvantages seem less important. In a situation such as this, where the disadvantages make the advantages seem less important, the term 'overshadow' is a more suitable turn of phrase. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overshadow ...


2

Greatest among any other town is impossible. That is a comparison with only one other town, and one town (or population) cannot be "among" only one other. Your first suggestion, greater than any other town, is acceptable, but a little loose; your second is even better, because it compares populations instead of comparing a population to a town: it answers ...


2

I have a question about the word-usage of "less". Does the sentence ... This winter is less cold than last one. ... make sense? The example sentence is fine - regarding less. However, there is a small problem though with "one". The word one here is not a pronoun ( - although there is a pronoun one as well). The word one is a countable ...


2

As stated in the other answers, "elder" means "older" but is usually only used when comparing a group of people who are in some way related. It also comes up in some idioms such as "elder statesman". There is one slight subtlety: consider the siblings John (15), James (17) and Mary (19). Mary might talk about "my elder brother, James" to mean "My brother ...


2

In that example, the expression less than global reach means not comprehensive coverage or incomplete coverage, or insufficient in extent of coverage. The three alternatives you propose are poor matches for that meaning. A crucial issue is that the type of extent being discussed is idiomatically conceived of as a matter of area, hence my use of the word "...


2

The first one is grammatically correct! 'Most' means the best out of a group, so you could say "This girl is the most intelligent girl in the class." if you wanted.


2

The most natural choice is "A person is getting better day by day." The phrases getting better and day by day both suggest an ongoing process, so they are compatible. Becoming better is not a correct construction because becoming refers to a goal which the person is striving towards. Better is not a goal, it is a step towards a goal. Becoming good is a ...


2

The forms involving the word “much” are not used. The words “too much” could easily be followed by a noun (“too much noise”), including a noun phrase that begins with an adjective ("too much black pepper"), but I cannot think how they could be followed by an adjective standing alone, as in “a boy who was too much young.” The other three forms in the question ...


1

No, you aren't wrong. The simple rule is this that you use 'much' ( instead of very, more etc ) with 2nd degree of adjective. What your student should have said was this, I am feeling better than yesterday or, I am feeling much better than yesterday


1

It isn't quite as lovely as that one. This means it is almost as lovely, but it "falls short" or is just a little bit less lovely than the one we are using as a measuring stick. It is quite as lovely as that one. I would not normally use this form. As stangdon mentioned in the comments, it's very old-fashioned. I would say: It is just as lovely as ...


1

If you are talking about more than two stories, your colleague, I think, is right. You should use the superlative longest for more than two stories as follows: Which story was the longest? However, if you are talking about comparison between two stories, your colleague isn't right. You can use either the comparative longer or the superlative longest. So ...


1

The rule, if you can call it that, is for the most part single-syllable adjectives will take an "-er" in the comparative form (going to focus on comparative for the moment because the rules generally apply to the superlative as well, except in cases like stupid and fun). Anything three syllables or longer will always take "more/most" etc, and will never add ...


1

Neither the word evil nor the word vapid can take ER to make a comparative. The word stupid technically can take ER and EST but I don't know that I've ever heard a native speaker use the word stupider. I have definitely heard stupidest but not the ER. When I say the word evilest it doesn't sound too bad but once again the ER version sounds completely wrong ...


1

Much simply indicates that it is not a little bit easier, but a lot. That doesn't mean it has to be the easiest. 1 billion dollars is much more than I have, but is is not the most money anyone can have. A mouse is larger than an ant, a rat is a bit larger than a mouse, but an elephant is much larger than a rat. Yet, an elephant is not the largest animal ...


1

There is nothing grammatically wrong with 'less cold than', but I think many native speakers would say 'not so/as cold as'.


1

It would be more correct to write the second sentence as: Ranjeet is as fast as, or perhaps faster than, Rohit. Like your example, the sentence should surround its modifying clause with commas to separate it's logic from the logic of the sentence.


1

Used as an adjective, "elder" is used when comparing the age of two people. The person who was born first is elder. It's used often for siblings, as in, "I have two sons. Charlie is the elder. John is the younger." While this is correct, in every day speech, most people use "older" instead of "elder". "My older son, Charlie, is coming to visit today." Older ...


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