Middle English, from Anglo-French comparer, from Latin comparare to couple, compare, from compar like, from com- + par equal
- Date: 14th century
- 1 : to represent as similar : liken <shall I compare thee to a summer's day? — Shakespeare>
- 2 a : to examine the character or qualities of especially in order to discover resemblances or differences <compare your responses with the answers>
- b : to view in relation to <tall compared to me> <easy compared with the last test>
In English grammar the degree of comparison of an adjective or adverb describes the relational value of one thing with something in another clause of a sentence. An adjective may simply describe a quality, (the positive); it may compare the quality with that of another of its kind (comparative degree); and it may compare the quality with many or all others (superlative degree). In other languages it may describe a very large degree of a particular [[quality].
The degree of comparison may be expressed morphologically, or syntactically. In English, for example, most monosyllabic and some disyllabic adjectives have morphological degrees of comparison: green (positive), greener (comparative), greenest (superlative); pretty, prettier, prettiest; while most polysyllabic adjectives use syntax: complex, more complex, most complex.
- 1. The positive degree is the most basic form of the adjective, positive because it does not relate to any superior or inferior qualities of other things in speech.
- 2. The comparative degree denotes a greater amount of a quality relative to something else. The phrase “Anna is taller than her father” means that Anna's degree of tallness is greater than her father's degree of tallness.
- 3. The superlative degree denotes the most, the largest, etc., by which it differs from other things.