Results 1 to 5 of 5
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • French
      • Home Country:
      • France
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 1,183
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    Cool the youngest/younger

    Hello!

    I understand the comparative et superlative structures. However, I don't understand why sometimes we see a comparative phrase instead of a superlative one:

    - The bigger wheel of this tractor is flat.

    -I have three children. The older is more sensitive that the two others.

    THank you for your help

    Will

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 10,369
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: the youngest/younger

    Tractors usually have two sizes of wheels. You can't have a "biggest" wheel unless there are at least three.

    In the second sentence, a comparison is being made between child A and child B, and child A and child C. A is more sensitive than either of them.

    You could write that A is the most sensitive of the three children, but it doesn't seem as natural as the original.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • French
      • Home Country:
      • France
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 1,183
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: the youngest/younger

    Thank you Soothing Dave. My first example doesn't make any sense, indeed.


    what about :

    -The bigger wheels of the tractor are flat. (why not "the biggest"? )

    -I have three children. The older (why not "the oldest") is more sensitive that the two others.

    Thank you
    Will

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 10,369
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: the youngest/younger

    Quote Originally Posted by Will17 View Post
    Thank you Soothing Dave. My first example doesn't make any sense, indeed.


    what about :

    -The bigger wheels of the tractor are flat. (why not "the biggest"? )

    -I have three children. The older (why not "the oldest") is more sensitive that the two others.

    Thank you
    Will
    How many sizes of wheels does the tractor have? If there are only two, then use the comparative.

    I think that "oldest' should be used in your second example. It is not uncommon to see this done wrong in normal speech.

  1. nyota's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2009
    • Posts: 615
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    Re: the youngest/younger

    The older one is more sensitive than the two others (separately, as it were, more sensitive than B and more sensitive than C, as SoothingDave wrote).

    Mary's taller than her three sisters.

    Mary's the tallest of the four girls (you compare her to the whole group).

    Sometimes, you use a comparative instead of a superlative when the whole group has two memebers (How English Works by M. Swan, C. Walter) e.g. I like them both but Kate's the nicer/nicest of the two.

Similar Threads

  1. [Idiom] look younger
    By Will17 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 15-Jan-2011, 23:16
  2. [Grammar] when you were young or younger
    By Heidi in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 18-Sep-2010, 03:18
  3. If Iím younger 10 years
    By flytothesky in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 30-Jun-2009, 17:51
  4. Younger/Youngest
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 18-Jun-2007, 21:42
  5. eldest youngest
    By ripley in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-Jan-2005, 06:54

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •