The Communicative Grammar of English Workbook (2013)

UNIT ELEVEN. Comparison

11.1. Comparison 1

Section 227; 500–504

•Most one-syllable and some two-syllable adjectives and adverbs take the endings -er and -est for their comparative and their superlative form respectively.

•Some shorter and all longer adjectives and adverbs form comparison with more and most.

•A small group of short adjectives, adverbs and quantifiers have irregular comparison.

When comparing two things we use comparative forms, when comparing more than two things we use superlative forms. To name these things we add an of-phrase, to name the sphere or range of comparison we add an in-phrase.

Task one **

Complete the following sentences with the most appropriate comparative OR superlative of the word in brackets, using

•adjective forms in sentences 1 to 5

•adverb forms in sentences 6 to 10

•adjective OR adverb forms in sentences 11 to 15.

1.The (serious) __________________ accident I ever got involved in crippled the (old) __________________ of my two daughters for the rest of her life.

2.I may be the (able) __________________ of all the mechanics in town but as for repairing a 1940s Morris, nothing could be (far) __________________ from my mind.

3.The situation is getting (bad) __________________ by the day, so even (drastic) __________________ measures will have to be considered.

4.Brian had expected old age to be the (unhappy) __________________ period in his life but he couldn’t have been (wrong) __________________.

5.In some ways Hubert is (clever) __________________ than most people, but he is also one of the (shallow) __________________ minds I’ve ever come across.

6.Even the (careful) __________________ planned campaign can go (disastrous) __________________ wrong than anyone would imagine.

7.(hard) __________________ hit by the floods is the Mekong delta, one of the (dense) __________________ populated areas in Asia.

8.No one is (high) __________________ praised by fashion connoisseurs than Ms Heartthrob, who has been dubbed “the (good) __________________-dressed woman walking the planet”.

9.Political observers are (acute) __________________ aware than ever that this is now the (autocratic) __________________ ruled country south of the Sahara.

10.(little) __________________ talented authors are often (wide) __________________ read than their (true) __________________ artistic counterparts.

11.The (old) __________________ Brian grew, the (close) __________________ attached he became to family values.

12.The (heavy) __________________ injured of the two victims had to be taken to the (near) __________________ hospital.

13.A (thorough) __________________ investigation will be needed if we are to find an answer to the (hot) __________________ debated issue of the decade.

14.Having an affair with a young intern is one of the (emphatic) __________________ denied allegations in US public life. Apparently, speaking the truth is the (little) _________________ of some politicians’ concerns.

15.The (long) __________________-serving chef in London had made the (great) __________________ efforts imaginable to make the Christmas pudding taste (delicious) __________________ than ever.

Task two **

Use two different superlative forms of ‘late’ in the following extract. What is the difference in meaning?

The ________________ figures show joblessness rising to almost 3.9 million, about 9.3 per cent of the work force. (…) Germany currently ranks ________________ among the euro zone’s 12 in terms of economic growth.

(adapted from Newsweek, 27 August 2001, p. 14)

Task three **

Combine the following words and phrases into short sentences, using superlative adjectives and adding connecting words.


Joan/professional/these five photographers.

Joan is the most professional of these five photographers.


Joan is the most professional photographer in town.

1.the Red Bull/good/pub/the northern hemisphere

2.Winnie/attractive/the three girls

3.religious fundamentalism/bad/our enemies

4.the Ibans/fierce/tribe/Borneo

5.the moon landing/exciting/event/the 1960s

6.Gregory/tough/Sam’s opponents

7.Shirley/competent/secretary/the department

8.the Thirty Years’ War/bloody/conflict/17th century Europe

9.David/bright/my overseas students

10.malaria/common/present-day tropical diseases

11.Bologna/old/university/the world

12.Nero/ruthless/the Roman emperors

11.2. Comparison 2

Sections 225–226; 505–507

To compare two unequal things various structures can be used:

•We are taller than most Sherpas (are).

•Most Sherpas are shorter than we are/ … than we (= formal)/ … than us (= informal).

•Most Sherpas are less tall than we are/ … than we (= formal)/ … than us (= informal).

•We are less short than most Sherpas (are).

For stating or negating an equal comparison the following structures are used:

•Some Sherpas are as tall as we are/ … as we (= formal)/ … as us (= informal).

•Most Sherpas are not as/so tall as we are/ … as we (= formal)/ … as us (= informal).

Task one **

Rephrase the following sentences without changing their basic meaning, giving at least two alternatives to each. Add any stylistic variants as well.

1.My skin is darker than Angela’s.

2.Our politicians are more optimistic than most voters.

3.Cynthia was feeling better than I was.

4.Boris looks healthier than I do.

5.There were not as many casualties in the train as in the coach.

6.I arrived later than Adrian.

7.The hooligans were dealt with more leniently than the anti-globalists.

8.Shy children speak more quietly than assertive ones.

9.My home is not decorated as lavishly as Madonna’s.

10.The British athletes were not running as fast as their Ethiopian counterparts.

Task two ***

Study each row of statistical data below, then write four sentences similar to those that have already been done for you with reference to ‘area’.



Australia is a large country.


Australia is larger than the UK, Ireland and South Africa.



Australia is smaller than Canada.



Canada is the largest of the five countries.



Ireland is the smallest of the five countries.

1.South Africa is a populous country.

2.Canada is a sparsely populated country.

3.The UK has a low birth rate.

4.Ireland has a young population.

5.Canadians live long.

6.Ireland has a wide gender gap as regards life expectancy.

7.Australia is a rich country.

8.Canada has a wet climate.

9.South Africa has a warm climate.

10.South Africa is far away from the UK.

Task three **

Convert the following sentences by replacing an adjective-and-noun pattern with one structured around an adverb. In some cases antonyms can be used in a number of alternative ways too.


I am as avid a reader of Punch as my granny.

I read Punch as avidly as my granny (does).

My granny reads Punch as avidly as I do.

(or: … as I <formal> … as me <informal>)

My granny and I are equally avid readers of Punch.

1.Simpson is a more elegant writer than Williams.

2.Chuck is not as good a baseball player as Pete.

3.Lady Carcrash is a more reckless driver than Lord Slowlane.

4.Americans are less ardent supporters of euthanasia than Europeans.

5.Sarah is as firm a believer in life after death as Monica.

6.Keith Michell was not such a brilliant actor as John Gielgud.

7.Barbara was not as peaceful a protester as Sandra.

8.Conchita is a more fluent speaker of English than Andrikos.

9.Arthur is a much harder worker than Hyacinth.

10.Dorothy is a less energetic swimmer than Sybil.

11.3. Comparison 3

Sections 228–229 & 233

Comparative forms are often repeated with and to express continuing change. In some cases there is an accompanying adverbial clause of proportion introduced by as: Things got better and better (as time went on).

Another construction expressing proportion consists of two clauses beginning with the + a comparative word: The earlier (we start), the better (it will be).

Task ***

Rewrite the following text, replacing the underlined parts with one of the above structures. In some sentences a change of word order is necessary within the underlined strings.

As the food situation in Malnutritia was deteriorating, the authorities were becoming increasingly worried.

Waiting too long before taking action would add to the risk of violent outbursts among the native population.

These people had felt mounting anger at the growing scarcity of food.

They knew that, if their complaints were loud enough, their plight would soon come to an end.

Fortunately, as the international community has become increasingly aware of such crises, it has been responding to them with ever greater speed.

11.4. Comparison 4

Sections 230–232

Comparison is implicit in structures with enough and too followed by a to-infinitive:

– You are old enough/too young to travel on your own.

Degree or amount constructions with so … (that) and such … (that) express a similar meaning. The that-clause adds a meaning of result:

– Mr Simpson is so old/such an old man that he can’t travel on his own any more.

The various types of comparison can also be applied to gradable countable nouns:

– I’m as much of a pessimist now as I’ve always been.

– I’m more/less of a pessimist now than before.

Task one ***

Complete the following sentences, adding a subclause that is compatible with the main clause.


David is so poor …

David is so poor that he can’t even afford to eat three decent meals a day.

1.Ann is not earning enough …

2.The trainees were too inexperienced …

3.The fog is so dense …

4.Tony is such a fool …

5.The witness was too afraid …

6.The suitcase is so heavy …

7.The patient was too weak …

8.Professor Puniverse is such a bore …

9.We had been practising long enough …

10.It had been snowing so heavily …

11.Some of the interviewees were too nervous …

12.Ms Lovelace is such a hard worker …

13.The president is too much of a realist …

14.Ted’s sudden departure was as much of a surprise …

15.Tracy’s poor marks at school are less of a worry …

Task two ***

Rephrase the completed versions of the above sentences without changing their meaning in a significant way. In some cases there may be more than one acceptable alternative.


David is even too poor to afford three decent meals a day.


David is very poor so (that) he can’t even afford three decent meals a day.