Degrees of Comparison


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Degrees of Comparison

 

a grammatical category that expresses the degree of a quality that characterizes a given object or action. Positive, comparative, and superlative degrees are distinguished. Some languages have only two degrees of comparison: the positive degree and the elative, which combines the meanings of the comparative and superlative degrees. The comparative degree indicates the presence of some quality to a greater degree in one object than in another; the superlative indicates the presence of some quality to a greater degree in one object than in all other objects. The positive degree designates a quality irrespective of degree.

Degrees of comparison are found mainly in adjectives and adverbs. For example, from the adjective umnyi (“wise”) are formed umnei (“wiser”) and umneishii (“wisest”); from the adverb umno (“wisely”) is formed umnee (“more wisely”). In some languages, however, degrees of comparison are also encountered in nouns and verbs understood to signify a quality, as can be seen by comparing the Komi kužǝ (“he is able to”) and kužǝjyk (“he is more able to”). Degrees of comparison may be expressed by affixes, as in umnei (“wiser”), or analytically, as in bolee umnyi (same meaning).

References in classic literature ?
Take the degrees of comparison to give you a faint idea of it: I am positively cunning; the devil is comparatively cunning; Mrs.