Pulse.ng logo

Pulse Blogger The errors we commit while drawing comparison

Sometimes, comparing two or more things in a discourse is necessary. Drawing comparison helps us to paint vivid images.

  • Published:
Drawing conclusions play

Drawing conclusions

Sometimes, comparing two or more things in a discourse is necessary. Drawing comparison helps us to paint vivid images.

We don't just compare nouns or pronouns but their similar or dissimilar qualities. Many people err here as they may be comparing two illogical nouns whose qualities are not meant to be compared. E.g.

My car is bigger than you.  In this sentence, I have just compared my car, not against your own car but you.  I am probably trying to say that "My car is bigger than yours or your car." Here, I have compared the qualities of two cars and one is obviously bigger. When you make seemingly illogical comparison, always try to justify your act.

At other times, people make incomplete comparisons. And if you don't pay attention, hardly would you notice it. It is noted that people do this when they assume the reader or listener understands what they are talking or writing about. A company asserts in an advert, "Our product is better."

Then I ask, "better than what?" They assume we know the other products with which they compete. Someone says "I am older." Then I ask, older than what or who? She expects me to know that given the context in which the utterance is made. Someone writes: "Kola speaks more bravely."

It makes me ask: more bravely than what or who? "Kola speaks more bravely than me." He could even speak more bravely than he did on Monday. While this is not totally unacceptable, it does not obliterate the fact that these comparisons are incomplete.

 It becomes a semantic crime when error of incomplete comparison coats our meaning in equivocal hues. E.g. "Tolu loves dancing more than Joyce." This utterance is capable of double interpretations. It, on one hand, means Tolu loves to dance more than he loves Joyce while on the other hand, it means Tolu loves to dance more than Joyce loves to dance.

Comparative sentences often make use of adverbs and adjectives  that end in "er," "est." The adverbs or adjectives may also be preceeded with "more" and "most." In the comparative sense, you use adverbs or adjectives that are preceeded with "more" or end with "er." E.g. I am more beautiful than you. You are greater than your father. The comparisons in both sentences are between two people.

When you compare the qualities of two nouns, avoid the superlative form of adjective. The appropriate form to use is the comparative form.

Hence, you cannot have "The best of two men" but "The better of two men." You cannot write "The least of two evils" but "The lesser of two evils." It's not "The eldest of the two sisters," but "The elder of the two sisters."

You may also easily commit the error of double comparatives when you preceed an "er" ending adverb with "More." E.g.  I am more better at it than you. The correct form is : "I am better at it than you." There are adverbs that are already in their comparative form, there is therefore no need to preceed them with "more." E.g. "More Worse."

Meanwhile, "ly" ending adverbs need "more" to form their comparative forms. E.g She speaks more highly of her boyfriend than her husband.

In the superlative sense, you use the definite article "the" before the modifier "most" or the "est" ending of an adjective. If "most" is what you have, then attach an adjective that does not use "est" ending to form its superlative version. That is why you cannot say "John is the most best dancer" but "John is the best dancer." You commit the error of double  superlatives when you have "most" modifying an adjective in its "est" ending form. More examples: "Most strangest," "Most fondest." "Most fastest."


Written by Omidire Idowu Joshua

Omidire, Idowu Joshua is an insightful editor and content developer for individuals and publication firms. You may reach him at: noblelifeliver@gmail.com

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Nigeria?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +2349055172167, Social Media @pulsenigeria247: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng. More information here.