Adjective which cannot be used in comparison

Hello Teachers,

What kind of adjectives which cannot be used in comparison?

Thanks in advance


1…Your sentence is not a good one; omit ‘which’.
2…My initial answer is that the simple base form of adjectives, for example ‘happy’, cannot be used for making a comparison, while the comparative forms (happier) and superlative forms (happiest) can be used.
I hope that I have understood your question correctly. Did I?

Oh oh, I have to change my answer! Simple adjectives like ‘happy’ can also be used when making a comparison. ‘I am not as happy today as I was yesterday.’ ‘She is even less happy than I am.’

Hi Jupiter

Like Canadian45, I’m not sure I understand your question.

A thought that comes to mind is the fact that certain words don’t work very well as comparatives only because of the meaning of the word itself.

Take the word unique, for example. Unique means one of a kind. How can something be “more unique” than something else? It’s not logical.


Hi jupiter

Adjectives that express ‘absolute degree’ of something cannot be used in comparison. Like hilarious or brulliant.
There are lots of such adjectives in English.

Hi Jupiter

To carry on with my “unique idea” :wink: here are some more examples of “absolute adjectives”:

[i]- dead

  • even
  • equal
  • perfect
  • complete
  • finished
  • Danish[/i]


And yet they are (used in comparison, I mean) – I do it all the time (and I know I’m not the only one)! :slight_smile:

Not being able to use ‘Danish’ or any other demonym as a comparative is also debatable. Actually, people often do it. Take the example of a foreigner who has adapted to their host country in such a way that people tell him, ‘You are more Danish/English/Spanish, etc. than I am/we are!

What about round?

A table can be round or can not be round..The other table can not be rounder than this one.


Yes, Conchita, people do that, colloquially. ‘The most brilliant (mistakes :))’, etc

I’ve only transferred to Jupiter what my (standard English) tutor told me. :slight_smile:

Hi Conchita

I agree with you that the so-called “absolute adjectives” are sometimes used comparatively – especially in more informal English. They are also sometimes used ironically. One of my favorite examples comes from Orwell:
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.:smiley:


Hi Tom,

I’d say that could fall into the same category. But, it’s tough to categorize “absolute adjectives” absolutely.

For example, if I said “Jack’s beer belly is rounder than Bill’s beer belly”, that would most likely mean that Jack’s beer belly is bigger or more pronounced. :lol:

My inclusion of Danish was intended to indicate a person’s national origin. That’s something that generally either is or isn’t. But I also agree with your comments.


Isn’t it, Amy?

Let’s suppose one person has only two Danish grandparents (out of four :slight_smile: ), whereas the second one - three Danish grandparents. Can’t the comparative ‘more Danish than’ be normally used to express the fact?

Yes, Tamara. There is often a mixing of cultures. But then people often/usually say something such as “Irish-American”.

Will you all be happier if I delete Danish? Sheesh. :roll: Be my guest and talk about being “more Danish than” as much as you want. I’m well aware that it happens sometimes, and if you can’t see my point about national origin, that’s also OK. I’m going to give up trying to clarify it now. :cry:

Cheer up, Amy! :slight_smile: After all, haven’t we got ourselves a nice little discussion here?

I like that interjection! There’s a similar sounding one in French, written ‘chiche’, with a different meaning: ‘I dare you!’ and ‘Bet you I will!’.

Hi Conchita

I’m sitting here contemplating what would happen if someone were born directly on top of a national border. Would we have to calculate what percentage of the mother’s body was physically in each country when referring to percentage of national origin of the baby? :lol:



Would legal priority have to be given to where the lower part of the mother’s body was situated? :?

Hi, everybody!

Conchita and Amy, isn’t there some neutral territory on the border of two countries? I wonder what happens if a baby is born there. :roll:

Anyway, a note about the problem at hand - my English teacher (who is British) mentioned that extreme adjectives don’t go with “very”. For example, one should say “absolutely delicious” instead of “very delicious”. I imagine it doesn’t matter much in informal conversations though :slight_smile: