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  1. #11
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Younger/Youngest

    What argument can there be? It is a straight comparative - young, younger, youngest.

    You have two daughters, an older daughter and a younger daughter. "Younger" implies one of two.

    You have three daughters, one of whom is oldest and one of whom is youngest, and one as always is lost in the middle, but is younger than the oldest sister and older than the youngest sister.

    The wedding invitations for each will properly say

    My oldest daughter
    My middle daughter
    My youngest daughter

    I refuse to go beyond three.

  2. #12
    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Younger/Youngest

    So you would say 'he is the higher bidder' (of two)? What about "the highest bidder" when only one bid is received?

    just wondering...
    Last edited by bianca; 18-Jun-2007 at 17:44.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Younger/Youngest

    Quote Originally Posted by bianca View Post
    I would use the superlative.
    All comparatives compare only two items, the only exception being the superlative which compares three or more, never two.

  4. #14
    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Younger/Youngest

    Yes, this is the conventional rule. I happen to know about it.
    Can anyone argue against the explanation in the link I provided previously (which, by the way, is a reliable source)? It was not I who claimed the occasional use of the superlative, don't shoot the messenger...
    Last edited by bianca; 18-Jun-2007 at 17:45.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Younger/Youngest

    Quote Originally Posted by bianca View Post
    My answer is that both younger and youngest can be used. Here comes some info:

    "Some prescriptive grammars hold that, when comparing only two entities, use of the superlative is ungrammatical: if the group were to contain only Adam and Bess, Adam would be older, while Bess would be younger and it would be ungrammatical to say that Adam was the oldest. The superlative degree used in reference to sets of two or fewer are found, however, in writing and speech. In an offer for auction to the "highest bidder" in which only one bid were received, for example, no rule of English grammar would negate the sale.[1]"
    Superlative - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Can anyone argue against the explanation in the link I provided...
    First, the source is saying that using a superlative adjective to refer to sets of two or fewer is considered non-standard English by prescriptivists. The example, the highest bidder.

    Second, native English speakers do in fact use superlative adjectives to express not necessarily comparisons, but rather order or rank, as in first and last; e.g., the first bidder is also the last bidder, the only bidder, and has the highest (or lowest) bid, the only bid, which makes that bidder the highest bidder. Rank, not comparison. Additionally, my oldest (i.e., 1st daughter of two) and my youngest (i.e., last daughter of two). It's not the Standard, but it is what some native speakers say, and that makes it English, but not the kind of English you would find in formal situations like, say, on a test or on wedding invitations.

    Does that help?

  6. #16
    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Younger/Youngest

    OK, thank you. I guess I am too keen on the spoken English

  7. #17
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    Default Re: Younger/Youngest

    That's a good thing too.

  8. #18
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    Default Re: Younger/Youngest

    Quote Originally Posted by bianca View Post
    Yes, this is the conventional rule. I happen to know about it.
    Can anyone argue against the explanation in the link I provided previously (which, by the way, is a reliable source)? It was not I who claimed the occasional use of the superlative, don't shoot the messenger...
    Hi bianca,

    Regarding the link, although Wikipedia is a valuable resource it can be edited by anyone, however qualified (or unqualified) they are in the field.

    Regarding the superlative, it compares all items within a group for a particular quality while the comparative compares two individual items. So, it would be ok to say "Sofia is the tallest in her class" even if there were only two children in the class, but not "Sofia is the tallest of the two".

  9. #19
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    Default Re: Younger/Youngest

    Welcome, William Strunk Jr.

  10. #20
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    Default Re: Younger/Youngest

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Welcome, William Strunk Jr.
    Thanks!

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