Adjectives generally have three degrees (grades or levels for the description of relationships): the positive degree (new, beautiful), the comparative degree (newer, more beautiful), and the superlative degree (newest, most beautiful).
Some adjectives do not normally need comparative and superlative forms; one person cannot be ‘more asleep’ than someone else, a lone action is unlikely to be ‘the most single-handed action ever seen’, and many people dislike the expression ‘most unique’ or ‘almost unique’, because something unique is supposed to be the only one that exists.
For purposes of emphasis or style some conventions may be set aside, for example ‘I don't know who is more unique; they are both remarkable people’.
Double comparatives such as ‘more bigger’ are not grammatical in Standard English, but Shakespeare used a double superlative in ‘the most unkindest cut of all’.
Some adjectives may have both comparative and both superlative forms (commoner and more common; commonest and most common).
Shorter words usually take on the suffixes -er/-est but occasionally they may be given the more/most forms for emphasis or other reasons: ‘Which of them is the most clear?’.
When an adjective comes before a noun (as in ‘tasty food’), it is attributive; when it comes after noun and verb (as in ‘it looks good’), it is predicative. Some adjectives can only be used as a predicate (as in ‘the child was asleep’, but not ‘the asleep child’). The participle of a verb is regularly used adjectivally (as in ‘a sleeping child’, ‘boiled milk’). This is often the case in compound forms (as in ‘a quick-acting medicine’, ‘a glass-making factory’, ‘a hard-boiled egg’, ‘well-trained teachers’).
Adjectives are often formed by adding suffixes to nouns (sand: sandy; nation: national).
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