Thursday, 5 November 2015


1 ‘This’ and ‘that’ are followed by singular nouns.
‘These’ and ‘those’ are followed by plural nouns.
Mistakes are often made by using ‘these’ and ‘those’ with singular nouns. The following sentences are incorrect:
• I don’t like these kind of people.
• I don’t like those sort of people.
We should say-
• I don’t like this kind of people.
• I don’t like that sort of people.

2 The words ‘superior’, inferior’, ‘senior’, ‘junior’ are always used as a comparative degree but they are followed by ‘to’ instead of ‘than’:
• This cloth is superior/inferior to that.
• He is junior/senior to me in age.

3 In comparing two things, the Comparative (not the Superlative) should be used; as,
• He is the taller of the two.
• Which is the better (not best) of the two?
• Of the two evils, choose the less (not least)

4 When one thing is compared with every other of the same kind, take care to use ‘any other’ after an adjective in the Positive or Comparative degree; as,
• Nisha is as intelligent as any other girl in the class.
• Pt.Nehru was more popular than any other leader of his time.
‘Nisha is as intelligent as any girl in the class’ suggests that
Nisha is as intelligent as herself, which is of course, absurd.
But ‘other’ must not be used after a superlative degree:
• He was the best of all other leaders. – incorrect
• He was the best of all leaders. – correct

5 The Superlative of an Adjective takes ‘the’ before it:
• This plan is the best of all.
• He is the most intelligent boy in our class.
But ‘the’ is not used in the following cases:
(1) When the superlative degree has a possessive adjective before it: as,
• He is my best friend.
• It was her dirtiest act.
(2) When the superlative degree is used with a noun for the sake of address; as,
• O dearest son, when will you be back again?
• O kindest soul, how I pine without you!

6 The superlative must not be used as if it were equal to very + Positive degree.
• He wrote a best book.-Incorrect
• He wrote a very good book.-correct

7 Double Comparatives and Superlatives should not be used.
• He is more cleverer than his brother. - incorrect
• He is cleverer than his brother. – correct
• She is the most youngest in the family. – incorrect
• She is the youngest in the family. – correct

8 If the first of two or more Adjectives is a Superlative, the others should also be Superlative.
• He is one of the best and hard-working teacher of our school. – incorrect
• He is one of the best and most hard-working teachers of our schools. – correct

9 Remember that if an Adjective follows the phrase ‘one of’, it should be in the Superlative degree; as,
• He is one of the best boys in our school.
• She is one of the most beautiful girls of our town.

10 A very common error is of the following type:
The population of Bombay is greater than Delhi.
We should say:
The population of Bombay is greater than that of Delhi.
Note that the comparison is between:
1. the population of Bombay and
2. the population of Delhi.

11 ‘Preferable’ has the force of a Comparative, and is followed by ‘to’. We must not say ‘more preferable’.
• Health is more preferable to wealth. – incorrect
• Health is preferable to wealth. – correct

12 Do not use ‘less’ when ‘fewer’ is required.
‘less’ refers to quantity; ‘fewer’ refers to number.
• No fewer (not less) than fifty girls took part in it.
• No less (not fewer) than ten pounds of tea was needed.

13 ‘Few’ and ‘a few’ have different meanings.
Few is negative; it means not many, hardly any,
‘A few” is positive; it means some at least.
• Few persons can keep a secret. – not many
• I have only a few books in my bag. – some
Similarly little = not much; a little = some at least.
• There is little hope of his recovery. – not much
• A little tact would have saved the situation. – some
Note that ‘few’ and ‘a few’ are Adjectives of number; ‘little’ and ‘a little’ are adjectives of quantity.

14 ‘Elder’ and ‘eldest’ are applied only to persons. The use of these words is confined to the members of the same family. ‘Eldest’ means first-born.
‘Older’ and ‘oldest’ are applied to things as well as persons.
‘Elder’ is not followed by ‘than’; ‘older’ is followed by ‘than’;
• He is my elder (not older) brother.
• He is older (not elder) than I.
• Our school is older (not elder) than yours.
• It is the oldest (not eldest) temple in our city.

15 ‘Later’ and ‘latest’ denote time:
‘Latter’ and ‘last’ denote position.
• I reached the school later (not latter) than Vinod.
• What is the latest (not last) news?
• The last (not latest) batsman played very well.
• Ashok and Ramesh are two brothers; the latter (not later) is my class fellow.

16 ‘Verbal’ is often wrongly used for ‘oral’.
‘Verbal’ means ‘of or in words’.
‘Oral’ means ‘delivered by mouth’, not written.
Hence the opposite of ‘written’ is ‘oral’, not ‘verbal’.
• His written statement differs from his oral (not verbal) statement.
• Were your instructions oral or written?
• The verbal message sent by you was not very clear.

17 Don’t say ‘our mutual friends’. The proper expression is ‘our common friend’.
* We met at the house of a common (not mutual) friend.

18 We should say ‘the first two’, ‘the first three’, etc.
The following expressions are meaningless:
‘The two first’, ‘the three first’, etc.
We should say:
The first two chapters of this novel are rather dull.
The first three boys were awarded prizes.

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