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Advanced Composition
Using Adverbs to Compare: More and Most

April 28, 2005

Using the three degrees of comparison—positive, comparative, and superlative—can be tricky. Tonight, we’ll review the rules more thoroughly than usual.

Comparing with Adverbs:

The simplest, of course, is the positive degree of comparison. For example: “I walked slowly to get the milk at the store.”

More difficult than positive, is the comparative degree of comparison. For example: “I walked more slowly than my dog, so she got a sore neck from pulling on the leash.”

The most difficult is the superlative degree of comparison. For example: “I walked the most slowly compared to my dog and my wife.”

Remember that to make things even more difficult, we have irregular comparative and superlatives, such as “well, better, best” and “badly, worse, worst.” In addition, remember to use “more” and “most” with longer adverbs and adverbs ending in “ly.”

Writing Assignment:

Comparison is an important form of writing. Using adverbs of comparison is a more useful in comparison than in most other writing (of course!).

Tonight, compare yourself as a young person (at least 10 years younger than you are now) to the person you are today. Use the three degrees of comparison from tonight’s lesson at least once each in your paragraph.

For example, “I drive more carefully now than when I first began driving.”

Write your first draft tonight. Bring your completed work to class on May 12.

Teacher Writing Sample:

 Expecting Changes

      Getting older has forced me to recognize that change is constant. Contrary to what I expected, I walk more quickly now than I did ten years ago. Over the years, my behaviour has changed gradually. I can no longer rely on my flexibility, strength, and endurance, so I must work hard to maintain my body, to make the best use I can of my capacity. My parents always say, “Your health is the most important thing. Without it, you have nothing.” Being in the middle of life, I have found a new interest in mathematics: how many years since; how many (possibly) left? I could find this all depressing, but with the new perspective I have gained, I now live most happily when I remember the importance of living well every day, expecting changes and living with them whatever comes my way. (142 words; revised from a piece written originally in February 2002 by Brad Hyde)



Some Common Adverb Comparisons

Positive Form

Comparative Form

Superlative Form


  more carefully

  most carefully


  more easily

  most easily


  more frequently

  most frequently


  more slowly

  most slowly


  more softly

  most softly



¨     Take your rough draft home with you today.

¨     Make at least five corrections to the draft and recopy the paragraph.

¨     Hand in your original and your revised copy to class next week.



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