View Poll Results: Tom behaves more politely of the two boys.

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Thread: Advice

  1. #1
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    Default Advice

    An online student asks, "Is this sentence correct or not? Please say either 'Yes' or 'No'."

    Tom behaves more politely of the two boys.

    I'm not sure, to be honest.

    polite can function as an adverb:

    politely

    and more can function as a comparative adverb:

    more easily, more politely

    But, can more politely exist after 'behave' and before 'of...'?

    Your thoughts are greatly appreciated. By the way, I'd prefer a longer answer than 'Yes' or 'No'. Thanx.

    :D

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    I think it's fine. If we change the order, it works:

    Of the two boys, Tom behaves more politely.

    Putting the words this way round seems to deal with anyissues about 'of'. Can behaviour be polite? I can't see why not. We can certainly have rude behaviour.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I think it's fine. If we change the order, it works:

    Of the two boys, Tom behaves more politely.

    Putting the words this way round seems to deal with anyissues about 'of'. Can behaviour be polite? I can't see why not. We can certainly have rude behaviour.
    I thought of that too. I came up with something a bit different:

    Of the two boys, Tom behaves the politest.

    Noun phrase + Prepositional phase

    Compare:

    Of the two boys, Tom behaves more politely.

    Adverb phrase + Prepositional phrase.

    Is that construct possible? I'm sooo confus-Ed by my brain

  4. #4
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    I prefer the original to Of the two boys, Tom behaves the politest. Of course, it would be simpler to say Tom is the politer of the two boys, but I suppose that is beside the point.

    :)

  5. #5
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    Thank you for your advice.

    My reply to the student was something like,

    'behaves' functions like a copula:

    Tom = the more politely of the two boys (Not OK)
    Tom = the more polite / the politest of the two boys (OK)

    :D Thanks for your insight :D

  6. #6
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    In my humble opinion, the politest of the two boys is definitely not okay, as a comparison between two demands the use of a comparative (-er).

    :(

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    In my humble opinion, the politest of the two boys is definitely not okay, as a comparison between two demands the use of a comparative (-er).

    :(
    Right :D

    more -est than is really bad Cas-English.

    This board gets really good questions :D; check out englishclub.com Help Desk. The questions posted there tend to alter the state of one's brain.

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