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Comparison of Adjectives and Adverbs

Comparison of Adjectives:
Synopsis Comparatives & Superlatives 3rd Declension 
More Adjectives Declensions ********
Comparison of Adverbs:
Synopsis Conversions a)gaqo&j
Correspondence Notes 'More than'
w(j  + Superlative Irregular Examples Exercises
Reading ******** ********

 

COMPARISON OF ADJECTIVES: Synopsis:

 

 An adjective has three stages of comparison.

It is said to be positive in its simple form:
  • the wise judge
  • the quick hare
  • the beautiful goddess.
In the comparative it is compared with someone or something else:
  • the judge is wiser than the general
  • the hare is quicker than the tortoise
  • Aphrodite is more beautiful than Hera.
The superlative gives a superiority to all else in the category:
  • the wisest judge
  • the quickest animal
  • the most beautiful goddess.

 

In English the comparative and superlative are formed regularly by adding -er, -est as:
  • tall, taller, tallest;

if the adjective ends in a single consonant this is doubled as:

  • big, bigger, biggest,

if it ends in -y this changes to -i- as:

  • pretty, prettier, prettiest,

if it ends in -e then this is elided as:

  • wise, wiser, wisest.
If the adjective has three or more syllables then more and most are generally used as:
  • beautiful, more beautiful, most beautiful.

 

Comparative and superlative in Greek adapt in much the same way in that the regular ending, comparable to -er, -est, is -teroj,  -tatoj, added to the masculine singular without the final sigma:

 

a)rxai=oj a)rxaio&teroj a)rxaio&tatoj
old

 

older

 

oldest

 

i0sxuro&j i0sxuro&teroj i0sxuro&tatoj
strong

 

stronger

 

strongest

 

However, if the penultimate syllable has a short vowel this is lengthened
(to avoid the cacophony of four consecutive short syllables):

 

sofo&j sofw&teroj sofw&tatoj
wise

 

wiser

 

wisest

 

a!cioj a)ciw&teroj a)ciw&tatoj
worthy (of)

 

worthier

 

worthiest

 


In third declension adjectives the endings are added to the neuter singular:

 

safh&j safe/steroj safe/statoj
clear

 

clearer

 

clearest

 

baru&j baru&teroj baru&tatoj
heavy

 

heavier

 

heaviest

 

with -esteroj,  -estatoj added to neuters ending in -on:

 

eu)dai/mwn eu)daimone/steroj eu)daimone/statoj
happy

 

happier

 

happiest

 


Some adjectives have:
  • the comparative ending in   -iwn
  • the superlative ending in   -istoj

 

h(du&j h(di/wn h3distoj
pleasant

 

pleasanter

 

pleasantest

 

kako&j kaki/wn ka&kistoj
xei/rwn xei/ristoj
bad

 

worse

 

worst

 


These two adjectives drop the -r- in the comparative and superlative:

 

ai1sxroj ai0sxi/wn ai1sxistoj
ugly

 

uglier

 

ugliest

 

e1xqroj e0xqi/wn e1xqistoj
hostile

 

more hostile

 

most hostile

 

and note that this very common adjective doubles the lambda:

 

kalo&j kalli/wn ka&llistoj
beautiful

 

more beautiful

 

most beautiful

 


The declension of the comparative adjective is:
  • -teroj,  -tera,  -teron

(like ai1sxroj, ai1sxra, ai1sxron)

or -wn,  -on (like sw&frwn,  sw~fron),

 

the declension of the superlative is in
  • -oj,  -h,  -on

like kalo&j,  kalh&,  kalo&n.

 


ADVERBS AND THEIR COMPARISON

 

SYNOPSIS
An adjective describes a noun and agrees with it in gender, number and case.
An adjective usually has a corresponding adverb which accompanies a verb or explains how the action of the verb is performed, e.g.
  • The beautiful goddess sings beautifully

where beautiful is an adjective describing goddess, but beautifully is an adverb explaining sings.

 

In English an adjective is converted to an adverb by adding -ly (wise, wisely),

 

in Greek the endings
  • -oj,  -hj change to -wj,
  • -wn  changes to  -onwj
  • -uj   changes to  -ewj

(i.e. in general -wn of genitive plural becomes -wj):

 

sofo&j sofw~j a)lh&qhj a)lh&qwj
wise

 

wisely

 

true

 

truly

 

taxu&j taxe/wj sw&frwn swfro&nwj
quick

 

quickly

 

prudent

 

prudently

 


Irregular (as in English) is the adverb of a)gaqo&j  good which is eu}  well,
hence English derivatives in eu- connecting with good as euphony, eulogy, eugenics.

 


Because the adverb accompanies a verb it has no gender, number or case and therefore
does not change its form.

 

The comparison of adverbs (always in English with more, most) follows that of the corresponding adjective:

 

  • the comparative of the adverb is the same as the neuter singular of the adjective
  • the superlative of the adverb is the same as the neuter plural of its adjective

 

The comparison of adverbs corresponding to the adjectives previously given therefore are:

 

i0sxurw~j i0sxuro&teron i0sxuro&tata
strongly

 

more strongly

 

most strongly

 

sofw~j sofw&teron sofw&tata
wisely

 

more wisely

 

most wisely

 

safw~j safe/steron safe/stata
clearly

 

more clearly

 

most clearly

 

swfro&nwj swfrone/steron swfrone/stata
prudently

 

more prudently

 

most prudently

 

h(de/wj h(di/on h#dista
pleasantly

 

more pleasantly

 

most pleasantly

 

and similarly:
kakw~j kaki/on ka&kista
ai1sxrwj ai1sxion ai1sxista
kalw~j

 

ka&llion

 

ka&llista

 


NOTES
  1. The comparative and superlative of adjectives and adverbs can be used without reference to others and then have the sense for the comparative of rather, quite and for the superlative of very:
sofw&tero&j e0sti. sofw&tato&j e0sti.
he is quite / rather wise.

 

he is very wise.

 

sofw&teron kri/nei. sofw&tata kri/nei.
he judges quite / rather wisely.

 

he judges very wisely.

 


  1. More than with a comparative adjective can be translated in two ways:
EITHER
  • translate "than" by h! with the same case as before
OR
  • without translating "than" put the noun in the genitive*

*(genitive of comparison)

 

The king is wiser than the general.

o( basile/uj sofw&tero&j e0sti

    h!  o( strathgo&j.

or

  

    tou~ strategou~.

 

Cf. from the chorus in Sophocles' Antigone:

 

polla_ ta_ deina&, kou)de\n a)nqrw&pou deino&teron.
Many things are awe-inspiring, and nothing more awe-inspiring than man.

 

With an adverb only the first way (h! = than) can be used:

 

a)lhqe/steron gra&fei h! le/gei.

He writes more truly than he speaks.

 


  1. w(j with a superlative adverb translates: as ... as possible
feu&gein taxe/wj to run away quickly
feu&gein w(j ta&xista

 

to run away as quickly as possible

 


Irregular comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs:

 

Positive

 

Comparative

 

Superlative

 

taxu&j qa&sswn ta&xistoj
quick

 

taxe/wj qa~sson ta&xista
quickly

 

r(a&|dioj r(a&|wn r(a&|stoj
easy

 

me/gaj mei/zwn me/gistoj
big

 

o)ligo&j mikro&teroj mikro&tatoj

 

little

 

or 

 

mei/wn

 

h#sswn e0la&xistoj

 

or 

 

e0la&sswn

 

polu&j plei/wn plei=stoj
much

 

(neuter ple/on)

 

a)gaqo&j a)mei/nwn a!ristoj
good

or 

belti/wn be/ltistoj

or as stronger, strongest

 

krei/sswn

 

kra&tistoj

 

eu] a!meinon a!rista
well

 

and note:

 

ma&la ma~llon ma&lista
very / very much

 

more

 

most

 

pro& pro&teroj prw~toj
in front

 

former

 

first

 


EXERCISES

16(i)

Complete, in the manner of the first sentence:

 

e0gw_ me\n me/gaj,  su_ de\ mei/zwn,  a)ll 0 e0kei=noj  o( me/gistoj.

 

e0gw_ me\n sofo&j,
e0gw_ me\n dikai=oj,
e0gw_ me\n a)gaqo&j,
e0gw_ me\n taxu&j,

Now check your ANSWERS here.

 

16(ii)
Translate in two ways:

 

The father is stronger than the child.
   
 
The soldiers are braver than the sailors.
   
 
Deeds are clearer than words.
   
 
Nothing is sweeter than life.
   
 

Now check your ANSWERS here.

16(iii)
Translate:

 

Helen is the fairest of women.

h(  9Ele/nh e0sti kalli/sth tw~n gunaikw~n.

 

Homer is the best of poets.
 
Zeus is the greatest of all.
 
Water is healthier than wine.
 
No one was happier than the king.
 

Now check your ANSWERS here.

 

16(iv)
Translate:

 

To judge wisely  

-- as wisely as possible  

 
To fight bravely  

--as bravely as possible  

 
To work well  

--as well as possible  

 

Now check your ANSWERS here.


 

READING:

 

oi0 me\n i0pph&wn stra&ton, oi0 de\ pe/sdwn
oi0 de\ na&wn fai=s 0 e0pi ga~n me/lainan
e1mmenai ka&lliston,  e0gw_ de\ kh~n 0 o!t-
tw| tij e1ratai.

Sappho

 

(e1mmenai = ei]nai,   kh~n o#ttw = e0kei=no o#tou)

 

Some say a force of cavalry, some of infantry, some of warships is fairest on the dark earth, but I say it is whom one loves.

 


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