Comparison of Adverbs

Just like adjectives, adverbs have three degrees of comparison - the Positive, the Comparative and the Superlative.

Positive Degree

The Positive Degree used to show that a person carries out an action in the same way as another person. 'As' is used before and after the adverb (as ... as).

Examples:

skillfully - as skillfully as

quietly - as quietly as

bravely - as bravely as

dearly - as dearly as

slowly - as slowly as

Cindy sings as beautifully as Marie.

She folds the blanket as neatly as I do.

Sam did as badly as Jim in the exam.

We danced as gracefully as they on the stage.

Mrs. Tyler loves the kids as dearly as Mr. Tyler.

Thomas ran as quickly as Rick to school.


Comparative Degree

The Comparative Degree of an adverb is formed by combining 'more', the adverb and 'than' (more ... than). It is used to compare the way two persons carry out a same action.

Examples:

carefully - more carefully than

patiently - more patiently than

noisily - more noisily than

roughly - more roughly than

neatly - more neatly than

The ladies are talking more noisily than the gentlemen.

Mr. Patrick donates more generously than Mr. Bruce to charity.

Veronica sang more beautifully than Amy last night.

Jennifer dances more gracefully than May does.

James is listening to the teacher more attentively than Alan.


The comparative of a one-syllable adverb is formed by combining the adverb, 'er' and 'than'.

Examples:

late - later than

long - longer than

near - nearer than

Wendy arrived at the party later than I did.

Barry walked a longer distance than Robin did.

I was sitting nearer to the window than Nancy.


The comparatives of some adverbs are irregularly formed.

Examples:

well - better than

badly - worse than

little - less than

Franklin did better than John in the mathematics test.

Tina dances worse than Tracy.

I ate less food than my brother.




Superlative Degree

The Superlative Degree of an adverb is used to compare the way three or more persons carry out a same action. It is formed by combining 'the most' and the adverb.

Examples:

happily - the most happily

silently - the most silently

angrily - the most angrily

politely - the most politely

patiently - the most patiently

Of the five dancers, Nelly dances the most gracefully.

Johnson was punished by his teacher because he behaved the most rudely in class.

Linda sang the most sweetly in the contest and became the champion.

Baxter writes the most neatly among his family members.


The superlative of a one-syllable adverb is formed by combining 'the', the adverb and 'est'.

Examples:

slow - the slowest

fast - the fastest

soon - the soonest

Mark runs the slowest among the three men.

Jeremiah completed his job the soonest among all the workers.

Of all the boys, Felix climbed the tree the fastest.


The superlatives of some adverbs are irregular.

Examples:

much - the most

early - the earliest

far - the farthest / the furthest

Mr. Sullivan ate the most food among the five men.

I arrived in the hall the earliest among the audience.

Of all the anglers, Michael caught the least fish.


Exercises

A. Fill in the blanks in the table.

Positive Comparative Superlative
steady more steadily the most steadily
soon sooner soonest
terribly ____________ ____________
____________ more pleasantly ____________
hard ____________ ____________
____________ ____________ best
____________ more proudly ____________
____________ ____________ most wisely
busy ____________ ____________
____________ more comfortably ____________
____________ ____________ worst
____________ ____________ the latest


B. Choose the right answers.

1. During the quarrel, Mary shouted as ( loudly, more loudly ) as John.

2. The tiger at the circus roared ( most fiercely, more fiercely ) than the lion.

3. Of all the girls, Susan cycled the ( more slowly, most slowly ) in the park.

4. I play the saxophone ( well, better ) than my brother.

5. Wesly speaks French as ( fluently, most fluently ) as Waverly.

6. Sue Green wrote the ( better, best ) novel among all the contestants.

7. Your car engine runs ( more smoothly, most smoothly ) than mine.

8. Among all insect species, I like the cockroach the ( less, least ).

9. Anna talks ( more politely, most politely ) than any other students in class.

10. Of all the passengers, Harry arrived at the airport the ( latest, later ).


C. Rewrite the following sentences, giving the right forms of the adverbs in brackets.

1. Jason slept as (soundly) as Bob last night.

2. My sister can read (fast) than my brother.

3. This bakery sells the (good) cookies in town.

4. Who can swim (fast), Tim or Brian?

5. I ate (little) than usual yesterday because I was sick.

6. The pigeon is flying (high) than the sparrow.

7. Emma went to bed the (late) among her family members last night.

8. Patsy sang the (terribly) in the singing contest and was eliminated in the first round.

9. Samy caught (many) fish than all the other anglers.

10. Joe was dressed as (smartly) as Eric this morning.


Answers

A.

Positive Comparative Superlative
steady more steadily the most steadily
soon sooner soonest
terribly more terribly the most terribly
pleasantly more pleasantly the most pleasantly
hard harder hardest
well better best
proudly more proudly the most proudly
wisely more wisely most wisely
busy more busily most busily
comfortably more comfortably most comfortably
bad worse worst
late later latest

B.

1. loudly

2. more fiercely

3. most slowly

4. better

5. fluently

6. best

7. more smoothly

8. least

9. more politely

10. latest


C.

1. Jason slept as soundly as Bob last night.

2. My sister can read faster than my brother.

3. This bakery sells the best cookies in town.

4. Who can swim faster, Tim or Brian?

5. I ate less than usual yesterday because I was sick.

6. The pigeon is flying higher than the sparrow.

7. Emma went to bed the latest among her family members last night.

8. Patsy sang the most terribly in the singing contest and was eliminated in the first round.

9. Samy caught more fish than all the other anglers.

10. Joe was dressed as smartly as Eric this morning.