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Intro to the comparative and the superlative

Comparatives and superlatives are features of English that allow us to compare one thing to another. To make the comparative, say "more happy" or "happier". To make the superlative, say "the most happy" or "happiest".

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] SO we've got these three penguins, grammarians we've got Raúl, who you may remember from his sweet mohawk, we've got Cesar and we've got Gabriela. Three magellanic penguins from Argentina. And they are all different amounts of happy. Cesar is a medium amount of happy, Raúl is more happy, and Gabriela is the most happy. And in English, we have a way to compare these. To compare Raúl to Cesar. To compare Raúl to Gabriela, or any combination thereof. We call these comparative and superlative adjectives. And before I get too into the weeds on that, let me just show you what that looks like. So we can say Raúl, let me put in the accent, Raúl is a happy penguin. He's go all the fish he wants, life is good. Raúl is happier than Cesar. This is what we call a comparative, because we're comparing Raúl to Cesar, and we're comparing their happiness levels. And Raúl has more happiness in him than Cesar does. Poor Cesar. However, Gabriela is the happiest penguin. Ta-da. The happiest is something that we call superlative in English. So it's not just a comparison. It's not Raúl is happier than Cesar. Gabriela is happier than all the other penguins. She is the happy-est, she is the happiest, she is the most happy. So one way to think about this is that Raúls happiness is slightly larger than Cesars happiness, but Gabriela's happiness is double plus, is unbeatably more than both of them. I'm gonna use a made up math symbol. Boom boom boom, like super greater than undisputed, she is the happiest penguin. Because the comparative is the same thing as saying more. The comparative equals more, and the superlative equals most. So this is slightly more, this is super much more. And something that's neat about English is that you can use the comparative and superlative for both positive relationships and also negative relationships. So we could say Raúl is a happy penguin, and we can say Raúl is happier than Cesar. We can also say Cesar is less happy than Raúl. So this is comparative but it's going the other way. Right. Cesar is less happy than Raúl. So then we use the less than symbol. Gabriela is the happiest penguin, and so for this group of three, Cesar is the least happy. So you can use the comparative and the superlative forms of adjectives to compare relationships where one thing is more or most than another or others, or relationships where one thing is less or least than others. That's how the comparative and superlative work, but if you stick around for the next video, I'm gonna talk about how to figure out, how to form the comparative and superlative when you're looking at a word you've never seen before, like, what if we made up a word, like like blarfy. What do you do with that? Well, you'll find out next time. In the meantime, you can learn anything. David out.