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  1. jaykoo

    Premodifier(?) before a comparative adjective

    I have a question about premodifiers (I think that's what they are called) that come before a comparative. As far as I know, a comparative is an adjective (or an adverb) and therefore can be preceeded by an adverb.

    Ex: John is much smarter than Sam. In this example, the word "much" is used to indicate the intensity of the comparison or something like that. Since "smarter" is an adjective, I assume that "much" is an adverb. Assuming that this is correct (I am not so sure that it is...) why is it that I cannot use the adverb "very" in front of "smarter"?

    That is, I know that "John is very smarter than Sam. " is incorrect, but what is the grammatical rule governing this? Is there a comprehensive list of adverbs that can and cannot preceed a comparative adjective?

    Please Help...

  2. John D


    Hi jaykoo :) ,

    Take a look here:-
    for some basic rules relating to your query.

    I do not think there would be a specific list of words anywhere.

    Hope this helps.


  3. jaykoo
    Hi John -

    I checked the site that you recommended and it didn't begin to address the issue that I raised. The link led me to a brief overview of adjectives and adverbs. What am I missing? Is there a further link from that page that discusses modifiers preceeding a comparative? Please let me know. :(

  4. Editor,
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
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      • British English
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      • UK
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    • Posts: 72,206
    You are right- 'much' is an adverb here. I don't know of a list of adverbs that can be used- I'll look out for one and come back to you. We use much and far a lot, and quite simply don't use very.

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