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Comparative Clauses

Express similarity or difference

► What is a comparative clause? ▼ Explanation of term

A comparative

  • expresses
    • a comparison of difference based on judgment or a standard of measurement: He is faster than I am. He is faster than me.
    • a comparison of relative equality (similarity, sameness) based on judgment or a standard of measurement: He walks as fast as I do. (about the same) He the same speed as I (do).  (equal)
  • takes form as, than, , like, of, from or to— in a paired expession with an adjective phrase or adverb phrase followed by a prepositional phrase. (He walks as fast as I walk. He walks faster than I walk. He walks the fastest of us all. He walks a different route from us / than we do. His route is similar to our route.) 
    • the preposition (as, than, , like, of, from or to) serves as the "head" of the adjunct prepositional phrase. The preposition may take a noun, noun phrase or clause as its complement.   He is as tall as I am. He is taller than me.
    • reduction of the clausal complement optionally omits the verb but may keep the auxiliary.  He walks as fast as I walk. He works as fast as I do. He works as fast as I.  (Huddleston 2 §12, 13)

adjunct (Adj) — is a structure that is added to the main clause but not required for the clause to make sense, an extra structure.

See Connector Overview for sources.

Comp. Word Forms

Word Forms (age: young/old)

Adj -er except. (good/better)

Adj -est except. (good/best)

Adv -er except. (well/better)

Adv -est except. (well/best)

Comparative Clauses

Summary of Practices

 

 

Comparisons: express similarity and difference

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

setting comparisons 

 The apple is similar to the orange.

The color of the apple is unlike the color of the orange.

This While the orange is high in fiber, the apple is not.

On the one hand, oranges are high in vitamin C; on the other hand, they are very acetic to the stomach.

Same…as / As ... as:  compare the similarities of two items

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

equal

The apple is the same weight as the orange. 

The apple is as heavy as the orange. 

The apple is as light as the orange. 

You are the same age as I am. 

You are the same age as I / me. 

More / -er: compare the quality of two items or the manner of two actions

Beginning–Intermediate ESL, Native Speakers

apples

This apple is better than that one (is).  (good - better)

This is a better apple than that one (is). 

This apple is more beautiful than that one (is). 

This is a less tasty apple than one (is). 

He drives faster than she does

*He drives faster than her.

Much & More: add to the amount of something

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

healthful food 

People have much more knowledge about eating right than they did in the 1900s.

Many more people are eating healthier diets than before.

People eat too much fat, sugar and salt.

People eat too many chips, cookies and candy bars.

He is much too old for her. 

She is far too young for him.

Less vs. Fewer : specify a barely sufficient or smaller quantity

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

wrinkling 

*Do you want less lines and wrinkles on your face?
fewer lines than before / less wrinkling than before

We use fewer toxic chemicals. (number)
We use less toxic chemicals. (percentage, composition)

Less is more  (noun)

Like vs. As: express description or manner

Intermediate–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

Teen Speak

My brother is like me.  (Prep. + N)

My brother thinks as I do. (Prep. + Cls)

He's smart like a fox.

He is as smart as a fox. 

Farther vs. Further: express comparative distance

Further down the street

The shop is farther down the street.  physical distance

The shop is further down the street.  physical distance

What you say couldn't be further from the truth! figurative 

Do you need any further assistance?  ("more") 

We'll help them further their cause. ("advance") verb 

Most / -est: compare one item to the rest

Beginning–Intermediate ESL, Native Speakers

apple comparison

The Granny Smith apple is the tastiest apple for baking.

The Red Delicious apple is the most flavorful apple.

The Jonathan apple is the least flavorful apple.

The cheetah runs the fastest of all mammals.

The sloth moves the least fast of all mammals.

Rather than: compare preferences 

Intermediate– Advanced ESL, Native Speaker

walk to work

We would rather walk to work than drive. (coordinator: X and not Y)

We walk to work rather than drive. (X and not Y)

We walk to work rather than get caught in traffic.  (subordinator: choosing X to avoid Y)

(than–adjunct prepositional phrase)

 

The more, the more: express that two things vary together

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

couple looks at wreakage

The more we saw, the less we could believe.

The bigger, the better.