Correct use of some adjectives

August 17, 2011pdf

The adjective can be correctly used with a verb when some quality of the subject, rather the action of the verb, is to be expressed.

  • These flowers smell sweet. (NOT These flowers smell sweetly.)
  • It tastes sour. (NOT It tastes sourly.)

The plural forms these and those are often used with the singular nouns kind and sort.

Examples are: these kind of things

However, some grammarians insist that we should say: this kind of things

The words superior, inferior, senior, junior, prior, anterior, and posterior take to instead of than.

  • He is senior to me.
  • James is inferior to Peter’s intelligence.

In comparing two things or classes of things the comparative should be used.

  • Take the shorter of the two routes. (NOT Take the shortest of the two routes.)
  • Of the two suggestions, the former is better. (NOT Of the two suggestions, the former is the best.)

This rule, however, is not strictly observed. In informal English, the superlative is often used when we talk about one of only two items.

When a comparison is made by means of a comparative, the thing that is compared must be excluded from the things with which it is compared.

  • Hercules was stronger than any other man. (NOT Hercules was stronger than any man – this sentence would suggest that Hercules was stronger than Hercules himself, which, of course, is absurd.)
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