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  1. #1
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    comparative x superlative

    Hi there,

    I'd like to know which one is correct to say:

    > Some people learn better by going to a class.

    > Some people learn best by going to a class.

    Or maybe both are corret?

    Thanks a lot

    Ademilson

  2. #2
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: comparative x superlative

    Quote Originally Posted by AdeExpress View Post
    Hi there,

    I'd like to know which one is correct to say:

    > Some people learn better by going to a class.

    > Some people learn best by going to a class.

    Or maybe both are corret?

    Thanks a lot

    Ademilson

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good afternoon, Ademilson.

    (1) Hopefully, one of the teachers will soon tell you and me the answer.

    (2) May I just offer these ideas:

    (a) Maybe many native speakers think both are "correct."

    (b) Most books tell us that the comparative and superlative of adverbs are

    used the same as the comparative and superlative of adverbs. That is,

    use the comparative when two things are compared; use superlative when

    three or more things are compared.

    (i) Of course, there are many exceptions to the "rule."

    (c) Here is a sentence from Mr. L. G. Alexander's very popular LONGMAN

    ENGLISH GRAMMAR:

    I work FASTEST when I'm under pressure.

    (i) Mr. Alexander used the superlative. Many (maybe!) because of all the

    different working conditions that are possible, the condition of my being

    under pressure makes me work fastest.

    (d) So let's look at your examples:

    (i) Some people learn BETTER by going to class.

    (a) Maybe (maybe) that means that they learn better by going to class THAN some other way (for example, taking classes on the Internet).

    (ii) Some people learn BEST by going to class. Of the many ways to learn (going to class, taking classes on the Internet, hiring a tutor, being an apprentice, taking correspondence courses), going to class is how some people learn best of all.

    Have a nice day!

  3. #3
    sarat_106 is offline Key Member
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    Exclamation Re: comparative x superlative

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good afternoon, Ademilson.

    (1) Hopefully, one of the teachers will soon tell you and me the answer.

    (2) May I just offer these ideas:

    (a) Maybe many native speakers think both are "correct."

    (b) Most books tell us that the comparative and superlative of adverbs are

    used the same as the comparative and superlative of adverbs. That is,

    use the comparative when two things are compared; use superlative when

    three or more things are compared.

    (i) Of course, there are many exceptions to the "rule."

    (c) Here is a sentence from Mr. L. G. Alexander's very popular LONGMAN

    ENGLISH GRAMMAR:

    I work FASTEST when I'm under pressure.

    (i) Mr. Alexander used the superlative. Many (maybe!) because of all the

    different working conditions that are possible, the condition of my being

    under pressure makes me work fastest.

    (d) So let's look at your examples:

    (i) Some people learn BETTER by going to class.

    (a) Maybe (maybe) that means that they learn better by going to class THAN some other way (for example, taking classes on the Internet).

    (ii) Some people learn BEST by going to class. Of the many ways to learn (going to class, taking classes on the Internet, hiring a tutor, being an apprentice, taking correspondence courses), going to class is how some people learn best of all.

    Have a nice day!
    Nice explanations which make things clear. Like many different conditions of working, there can also be many ways of learning. So here both are possible. See this example:
    Some people learn better in groups while others learn best by themselves,

  4. #4
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Re: comparative x superlative

    Quote Originally Posted by sarat_106 View Post
    Nice explanations which make things clear. Using capitalization and punctuation means that you think it is a complete sentence. It's not a sentence.

    Some people learn better in groups while others learn best by themselves,
    The above 'sentence' is not (internally consistent)(correct).
    2006

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    sarat_106 is offline Key Member
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    Exclamation Re: comparative x superlative

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    2006
    I am unable to find my mistakes. Will please correct them? I would still feel more happy if you contribute something to the subject in question.
    Last edited by sarat_106; 10-May-2010 at 07:07.

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: comparative x superlative

    Quote Originally Posted by sarat_106 View Post
    I am unable to find my mistakes. Will please correct them?
    I think he's referring to your ellipted sentence: " [They are] Nice explanations, which make things clear." I don't consider this wrong, but it is not as clear as the more usual "Nice job!" or similar. I wonder if 2006 would object to "Nice work!"

    Some people learn better in groups while others learn best by themselves.
    This is wrong because you are comparing two incomparable things - groups who learn better with X and groups who learn best with Y. This could be the same group - the group who learns better with X than W, but best with Y.
    " John learns better in groups than he does in a crowded lecture hall, but he learns best by himself."

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    sarat_106 is offline Key Member
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    Exclamation Re: comparative x superlative

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I think he's referring to your ellipted sentence: " [They are] Nice explanations, which make things clear." I don't consider this wrong, but it is not as clear as the more usual "Nice job!" or similar. I wonder if 2006 would object to "Nice work!"

    Some people learn better in groups while others learn best by themselves.
    This is wrong because you are comparing two incomparable things - groups who learn better with X and groups who learn best with Y. This could be the same group - the group who learns better with X than W, but best with Y.
    " John learns better in groups than he does in a crowded lecture hall, but he learns best by himself."
    I think this can be expreesd this way:
    Some people learn better in groups but many prefer to learn best by themselves,

  8. #8
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: comparative x superlative

    Quote Originally Posted by sarat_106 View Post
    I think this can be expreesd this way:
    Some people learn better in groups but many prefer to learn best by themselves,
    I don't think so. That still contains the same problem, as I demonstrated.
    John can still learn best by himself and also learn better in groups than in a crowd.
    You're still making wrong comparisons. If you left out "but" and started a new sentence, there'd be no grounds for objection. You could also change both to "best".
    Some people learn best in groups but many learn best by themselves. That's a valid comparison.

    Note that you can't "prefer to learn best" in either situation. That just adds another complication to your comparison.
    John could still actually learn better in groups but prefer to learn better by himself (if he had a choice).

  9. #9
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Re: comparative x superlative

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I think he's referring to your ellipted sentence: " [They are] Nice explanations, which make things clear." I don't consider this wrong,
    I'm not sure I would call that an ellipsis. Both the subject and the main verb are missing. All we have left is a noun clause. It's meaning is understandable, but it's not a proper sentence, and in my opinion should not be marked as one.
    Of course one problem is that some students could well think that the noun phrase is a proper complete English sentence..

    but it is not as clear as the more usual "Nice job!" or similar. I wonder if 2006 would object to "Nice work!" again, not a sentence and shouldn't have the markings of one
    I would write it as 'nice work!' (the bold just for clarity)

    There is an extremely strong tendency here to capitalize and punctuate 'everything', seemingly often without much thought about the appropriateness or not of doing so.

    My feeling is that if it's not a sentence don't punctuate it as one.

    I Would just say 'nice explanations which make things clear', or even 'nice explanations, made things clear'.

    And doing so would possibly have another benefit, which would be to introduce some 'oral language' to this site.

    We would have capitalization and punctuation for proper sentences, and neither for 'oral' English. Of course there would be some examples that we might disagree about as to which category they belong to.

    That's my opinion. :)
    2006

  10. #10
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: comparative x superlative

    Quote Originally Posted by sarat_106 View Post
    I think this can be expreesd this way:
    Some people learn better in groups but many prefer to learn best by themselves,
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Sarat.

    (1) Like about 100 other people, I have been following this thread with especial interest.

    (2) One of the best teachers at this site stated that your sentence ("Some people learn better in groups but many learn best by themselves" is problematic.

    (3) He states, however, that it would be correct if it were changed to two sentences: Some people learn better in groups. Many learn best by themselves.

    (4) I recently discussed this with an experienced teacher who grades ESL examination papers. She doesn't understand either why the sentence in No. 2 is rejected, but the sentence in No. 3 is accepted.

    (5) I hope someone will use very simple baby steps to explain the problem to me. I am a very slow learner.

    Have a nice day!

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