Wordplay is a blog project featuring posts from students enrolled in ENG 320 Grammar and Linguistics (Fall 2019)

Good, Gooder, Goodest

by Madilyn Barraza

I am not usually one to care about the use of incorrect grammar. 

I hang around kids between the ages of 3-5 all day; it is expected that they speak with incorrect grammar simply because they do not know better.

It isn’t until a person is introduced to the rules of correct grammar that I begin to cringe at the sound of incorrect grammar.

One form of incorrect grammar that really irks me, to the point of uncontrollable unpleasant facial expressions, is the misuse of adding –er or –est/more or most to adjectives. An example of this cringe-worthy misuse of the changing of state for adjectives is:

Your hair is more longer than mine.

For example, let’s take the word small. One factor that plays a huge role in whether or not to add the ending –er or –est or add more or most is the number of syllables in the adjective. In this case, small has one syllable; adjectives with one syllable, almost 100% of the time, will have –er or –est added on to them to change the state of the word. 

Small.

Smaller.

Smallest.

In the case of adjectives with two syllables, it simply depends on the word whether or not the use of more or most OR –er or –est is appropriate to change the state of the word. For example, let’s take the word happy. The word happy has two syllables, and in this case, it is appropriate to add –er or –est to change the state of the word. 

Happy.

Happier.

Happiest.

Now, let’s take the word bizarre. The word bizarre has two syllables, but in this particular case, it is appropriate to add more or most to change the state of the word.

Bizarre.

More bizarre.

Most bizarre. 

To create more unnecessary confusion, there are some adjectives that can use one or the other in terms of the add-ons –er or –est/more or most. For example, let’s take the word clever. The word clever has two syllables, and this special case; it is appropriate to use either add-on in order to change the state of the word. 

Clever.

Cleverer.

Cleverest.

OR..

Clever. 

More clever.

Most clever. 

In the instance of an adjective that has three syllables, more or most must be added in order to change the state of the word. For example, let’s take the word attractive. The word attractive has three syllables, therefore, more or most is appropriate to change the state of the word.

Attractive.

More attractive.

Most attractive. 

To this day, I still have to Google whether or not I can add –er or –est/more or most to some adjectives. Now whether this is a result of a lack of teaching of the correct use of these add-ons during my elementary and middle school years or simply my lack of retention to the teachings, I was not aware of the set rules that I researched for this blog post. 

It is also very possible that I simply lack the intelligence to just know this grammar rule without the use of Google, but if I am not the only one who has to use the wonderful web to ensure my correctness behind the use of these add-ons, then here ya go! Now we can all write papers in good time as a result of our ability to change the state of an adjective without the use of Google. 


References:

GutensMayhem. “Post by GutensMayhem on Boldomatic.” Boldomatic, https://boldomatic.com/p/0_3EKQ/good-gooder-goodest

Good, Ed. “States of Adjective: -Er or More, -Est or Most.” States of Adjective: -Er or More, -Est or Most, https://www.grammar.com/states-of-adjective-er-or-more-est-or-most

 


Madilyn Barraza graduated from Scottsbluff High School and decided to continue her education at Chadron State because it was not too far from home but also was far enough for her to start experiencing some independence. She is majoring in Elementary Education K-8 and is looking into an endorsement in PE. She is a Sophomore at CSC this year and is currently working at the CDC on campus along with tutoring at the middle school a few days a week.

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