This is “Irregular Adjectives”, section 1.12 (from appendix 1) from the book Writers' Handbook (v. 1.0).
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In English, adjectives have comparative and superlative forms that are used to more exactly describe nouns.
Joey is tall, Pete is taller than Joey, and Malik is the tallest of the three boys.
One common way to form the comparative and superlative forms is to add -er and -est, respectively, as shown in the preceding example. A second common method is to use the words more and most or less and least, as shown in the following example.
Lucy is eager to start, Callie is more eager, and Shannon is the most eager.
Some adjectives do not follow these two common methods of forming comparatives and superlatives. You will simply have to learn these irregular adjectives by heart. Some of them are listed Table 21.2 "Sample Adjectives That Form Superlatives Using Irregular Patterns". Notice that some are irregular when used with a certain meaning and not when used with a different meaning. See Chapter 20 "Grammar", Section 20.6.3 "Using Comparatives and Superlatives" for more examples of irregular adjectives.
Table 21.2 Sample Adjectives That Form Superlatives Using Irregular Patterns
|much (noncount nouns)||more||most|
|many (count nouns)||more||most|
|old (people and things)||older||oldest|
|old (family members)||elder||eldest|
Some adjectives’ comparatives and superlatives can be formed with either -er and -est or with more and most (or less and least). In these cases, choose the version that works best within a given sentence.
Table 21.3 Sample Adjectives That Can Form Superlatives Using -er and -est or More and Most
|clever||more clever||most clever|
|gentle||more gentle||most gentle|
|friendly||more friendly||most friendly|
|quiet||more quiet||most quiet|
|simple||more simple||most simple|
Some adjectives do not have comparative and superlative forms since the simplest form expresses the only possible form.