Comparison of Adverbs

Adverbs, like adjectives, have three degrees of comparison – the positive, the comparative and the superlative.

Comparison of Adverbs:

The different degrees of comparison are formed in different ways:

  • Short adverbs having just one syllable form the comparative and the superlative by the addition of –er and –est to the positive.

Examples:

Hard (positive), harder (comparative), hardest (superlative)

Soon, sooner, soonest

Fast, faster, fastest

Late, later, latest

Loud, louder, loudest

Clean, cleaner, cleanest

Clear, clearer, clearest

Low, lower, lowest

High, higher, highest

  • Adverbs which end in –ly take more for the comparative and most for the superlative.

Examples:

Softly (positive), more softly (comparative), most softly (superlative)

Happily, more happily, most happily

Swiftly, more swiftly, most swiftly

Ably, more ably, most ably

Truly, more truly, most truly

Greedily, more greedily, most greedily

Efficiently, more efficiently, most efficiently

Certainly, more certainly, most certainly

Painfully, more painfully, most painfully

Joyfully, more joyfully, most joyfully

Exception:

The adverb early is an exception to this rule.

Early (positive), earlier (comparative), earliest (superlative)

  • Some adverbs form their comparative and superlative degrees in an irregular manner:

Far (positive), farther, further (comparative), farthest, furthest (superlative)

Late (positive), later (comparative), last, latest (superlative)

Well (positive), better (comparative), best (superlative)

Badly, worse, worst

Little, less, least

Much, more, most

Notes:

  • It should be noted that only adverbs of time, degree and manner have three degrees of comparison.
  • Adverbs such as now, then, once, there, where, why, how, not, never, ever etc., cannot be compared and hence they do not have the three degrees of comparison.

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