What Happened to Comparatives?

When did “healthier” become “more healthy?” Or, when did “smarter” become “more smart?” Or, when did “stronger” become “more strong?” The rules for these things we call comparatives keep getting broken:

1. One syllable words form the comparative by adding -er and -est:

brave, braver, bravest
small, smaller, smallest
dark, darker, darkest.

2. Two-syllable words that end in -y, -le, and -er form the comparative by adding -er and -est:
pretty, prettier, prettiest
happy, happier, happiest
noble, nobler, noblest
clever, cleverer, cleverest

3. Words of more than two syllables form the comparative with more and most:
beautiful, more beautiful, most beautiful.
resonant, more resonant, most resonant

This may sound like a minor point to you. Don’t be fooled. If someone thinks you made a mistake with your comparative, they just might not hear anything else you say. Result: message lost.

It’s often the little things that make a big difference.

Here’s a little song for you in this video clip to help you remember when to add “-er” or “more”:

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