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View Full Version : "More" and "Most" versus "er" and "est"



Optimus
04-06-2006, 02:03 PM
When do you use each?

With which words?

Is there a rule to help one remember?

Thanks.

maestrowork
04-06-2006, 04:59 PM
My school teacher (and she was very cute) told me to use "more" and "most" when the word had more than two syllables:

Chinese food is more delicious than British food, but also greasier.

reph
04-06-2006, 09:55 PM
"More" and "Most" versus "ed" and "er"
Opti, did you mean to write ". . . versus '-er' and '-est'"?

"-ed" is a past-tense ending.

PattiTheWicked
04-06-2006, 10:16 PM
My daughter told me this morning that her loose tooth was even more wigglier than it was yesterday.

I don't even know if wigglier is a word, let alone if it should be paired up with "even more".

Bufty
04-06-2006, 10:27 PM
But it's super kid's dialogue material -no?

reph
04-06-2006, 10:56 PM
Assuming that the question concerns comparative and superlative adjectives...

I think -er can be attached to a two-syllable adjective that ends in a vowel sound but not to one that ends in a consonant sound. You can say "The rose garden looks lovelier every year," but you can't say "The Mardi Gras costumes look gorgeouser every year."

-Er and -est seem awkward when used on adjectives that aren't very common. "Greasier hamburgers" sounds all right to me; "fattier hamburgers" doesn't. But it may be just my ear.

Tish Davidson
04-06-2006, 11:44 PM
And please, my pet peeve. Never use more or most with the word "unique."

I hear this misues in advertising all the time and it drives me crazy. Unique is one of a kind. Something can't be more one of a kind or the most one of a kind.

Optimus
04-07-2006, 12:04 AM
Opti, did you mean to write ". . . versus '-er' and '-est'"?

"-ed" is a past-tense ending.

Yeah, it was late and I had a brain fart.

But, the board won't let me change the title of the thread.

:(

Optimus
04-07-2006, 12:06 AM
And please, my pet peeve. Never use more or most with the word "unique."

I hear this misues in advertising all the time and it drives me crazy. Unique is one of a kind. Something can't be more one of a kind or the most one of a kind.

Yeah, that's one of my pet peeves, too.

Along with "very historic" and "new and improved."

Nothing can be "more" historic than it already is.

And, if something's new, it can't be improved. It's either and old thing that's been improved, or it's an entirely new thing.

Can't be both.

maestrowork
04-07-2006, 12:47 AM
Or "more complete." How can you be more complete than complete?

Strongbadia
04-07-2006, 02:34 AM
-Er and -est seem awkward when used on adjectives that aren't very common. "Greasier hamburgers" sounds all right to me; "fattier hamburgers" doesn't. But it may be just my ear.

To me, it is the other way around. I think the reason it sounds poor is because of the different between fat and fatty.

"They have more fatty hamburgers than McDonald's"

"They have fattier hamburgers than McDonald's"

They are both seem correct to me, but they do not mean the same thing.

hmmmm Here we we go with the comparative form again...

reph
04-07-2006, 04:30 AM
Opti, do you have a particular word you need to decide about? We could just give you the answer on that one instead of trying to generate a rule and enough corollaries to cover all cases.

Optimus
04-07-2006, 07:43 AM
Not any particular word.

It's just sometimes I'm unsure of which to use, so I'm wondering if there is a standardized rule.

reph
04-07-2006, 08:21 AM
"They have more fatty hamburgers than McDonald's"

"They have fattier hamburgers than McDonald's"

They are both seem correct to me, but they do not mean the same thing.
They would if the first one had the hyphen it needs to avoid ambiguity.


I'm wondering if there is a standardized rule.
Apparently not. Fowler's Modern English Usage has a long entry "-er and -est, more and most," which sets forth several "remarks" that "are not offered as precise rules, but as advice that, though generally sound, may on occasion be set aside." Fowler lists categories of words for which -er and -est are preferred and categories of words for which "more" and "most" are preferred or mandatory. I don't agree with all his classifications. For instance, he says "cruel" and "pleasant" prefer -er and -est, and "awkward" and "brazen" "can take -er and -est without disagreeably challenging attention."

Jamesaritchie
04-07-2006, 11:08 AM
Not any particular word.

It's just sometimes I'm unsure of which to use, so I'm wondering if there is a standardized rule.

There are rules, but they can be dreadfully confusing. I think the easiest way to tell which word gets what is to look up the variation you want to use in the dictionary. If it's there, use it. If it isn't there, avoid it.

"Fattier," for instance, is the inflected form of "fatty," and is in the dictionary.

Optimus
04-07-2006, 11:24 AM
Thanks for all the replies, everybody.

Strongbadia
04-09-2006, 10:04 PM
They would if the first one had the hyphen it needs to avoid ambiguity.

A Hyphen? How are you reading the first sentence? I do not see where it needs a hyphen.

reph
04-09-2006, 10:09 PM
A Hyphen? How are you reading the first sentence? I do not see where it needs a hyphen.
"They have more fatty hamburgers than McDonald's": They have a larger number of fatty hamburgers.

"They have more-fatty hamburgers than McDonald's": Their hamburgers are more fatty. Their hamburgers are fattier.

Jamesaritchie
04-10-2006, 08:09 AM
How about "Their hamburgers contain more fat than McDonald's hamburgers."

Strongbadia
04-12-2006, 02:11 AM
"They have more fatty hamburgers than McDonald's": They have a larger number of fatty hamburgers.

"They have more-fatty hamburgers than McDonald's": Their hamburgers are more fatty. Their hamburgers are fattier.

Does this mean you can and more plus a hyphen for the comparative form?

more-red (redder)
more-funny (funnier)
more-fatty (fattier)

I am slightly confused.

reph
04-12-2006, 02:39 AM
You use the hyphen when you need to show that "more" modifies the adjective, not the noun.

"This revised police report lists more recent robberies than the old one." A greater number of recent robberies.

"This revised police report lists more-recent robberies than the old one." Robberies that are more recent. "More" is used because we don't write "recenter."

If "more" and an adjective come after the noun, don't use a hyphen. There's no ambiguity. "The robberies on page 4 of the report are more recent."

PastMidnight
04-14-2006, 03:24 AM
sourer vs. more sour

The first turns up as the comparative form in online dictionaries (don't have a print dictionary on hand right now), but the second follows the general "rule" mentioned earlier in the thread, provided you pronounce "sour" with two-syllables. I've seen both forms used, but "sourer" just sounds strange to me. Maybe it's because when I add the "-er", the "sour" becomes one syllable in my pronounciation.

Which would you use?

reph
04-14-2006, 10:00 AM
"Lemon juice is sourer than orange juice."

"Lemon juice is more sour than orange juice."

They both sound all right to me, independently of whether I hear "SOW-rer" or "SOW-er-er."

PastMidnight
04-14-2006, 03:18 PM
So "sour" is just one of those that doesn't necessarly follow the rules. Maybe the preferences for one comparative form over another are regional preferences, which is why "sourer" sounds strange to my ears. I suppose I'll just pick one and stay consistant!