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Comparative and Superlative Adverbs

What is the comparative form of an adverb? What is the difference between comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs? What is the superlative form of quickly?

Comparative and Superlative Adverbs


1) An adverb is a word or set of words that modifies verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Usually adverbs modify verbs, telling us how, how often, when, or where something was done.

We walked really slowly.

2) Most adverbs can show degree of quality or quantity by forming two degrees of comparison: the comparative degree and the superlative degree. These degrees are formed from the positive degree, which is the usual form of adverbs.

She eats slowly.
She eats more slowly than we do.
She eats the most slowly of us all.

The comparative form is used for comparing two actions or states, while the superlative is used for comparing one action or state with all the others in the same category.

He runs faster than Jack does. But we need to check for sure who runs the fastest.

There are three ways in which the comparatives and the superlatives are formed, depending on the spelling of the base adverbs.

If an adverb ends in -ly, add more to make the comparative, and the most to make the superlative.

happily – more happily – the most happily

If an adverb has the same form as an adjective, follow the same rules when you form the comparative or superlative degree of adjectives, i.e. by adding the endings -er or -est. If an adverb ends in -y, then you change the -y to -i before adding -er or -est. If an adverb has one syllable and ends in -e, simply add -r or -st.

late – later – the latest

Some adverbs do not follow any of the rules explained earlier. They are irregular. Here are the most common irregular adverbs.

the best
the worst
the most
the least
the farthest/the furthest

Note that it impossible to have comparatives or superlatives of certain adverbs, especially those of time (e.g. daily, yesterday, then), place (e.g. there, up, down), and degree (e.g. very, just, too).

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