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Positive, Comparative and Superlative Adverbs

Adverb: An adverb describes (modifies) a verb, an adjective and adverb in a sentence except noun and pronoun. And adverbs often tell when, where, why, or under what conditions something happens or happened. Adverbs frequently end in -ly; however, many words and phrases not ending in -ly serve an adverbial function and -ly ending is not a guarantee that a word is an adverb. The words lovely, lonely, motherly, friendly, neighborly, for instance, are adjectives. Adverbs as like adjectives have three degrees of comparison – the positive, the comparative and the superlative. The different degrees of comparison are formed in different ways; concentrate on the rules below to know about positive, comparative and superlative adverbs in English 

 Positive, Comparative and Superlative Adverbs

Positive, Comparative and Superlative Adverbs
Positive, Comparative and Superlative Adverbs

Rule 1: Short adverbs having just one syllable form the comparative and the superlative by the adding –er and –est to the positive.

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

Note that almost all adverbs which are also used as adjectives belong to this class.

Rule 2: Adverbs ending in –ly
Adverbs which end in –ly take more for the comparative and most for the superlative.

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).

Rule 3: Irregular Adverbs
Some adverbs form their comparative and superlative degrees in an irregular manner:

Far (Positive) Farther, further (Comparative) Farthest, furthest (Superlative)
Late later (comparative) Last, latest
Well better best
Badly worse worst
Little less least
Much more most

Rule 4: Un-gradable adverbs below

IMPORTANT: 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.

IMPORTANT: Adverb conjunction adverb:
Two adverbs sometimes joined by the Conjunction
Again and again

  • You should read good books again and again.

Far and near

  • His work spread far and near.

Now and then And now and again  

  • I write to him now and then.

Over and over

  •  He needs all the Novels over and over.

Out and out

  • I believe that Mr. Ali is out and out the best teacher.

To and fro 

  • He walked to and fro.

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1 comment

Anirban Banerjee December 19, 2020 at 6:48 am

Thanks, for the info.


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