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    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 1,571
    #1

    degrees of comparison

    1. If you are tired, swim to the near bank of the river.
    2. If you are tired, swim to the nearer bank of the river.

    Which is correct?

    Also:
    1. Of the two brothers he is taller.
    2. Of the two brothers he is the taller.

    Are both good? Difference?


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #2

    Re: degrees of comparison

    2. If you are tired, swim to the nearer bank of the river.

    Strictly speaking, this is the grammatically correct one.
    We often use 'nearest' in sentences, such as, "Where's the nearest service station. I'm nearly out of petrol." Usually, we have more than two options so don't have to use 'nearer'; and it sounds 'too correct' when we do have to use it, as in your sentence where there are only two banks to a river. However, it seems like overkill (or you're talking to an idiot) to advise them which bank is preferable in their exhausted state.
    Easier to rephrase the sentence:
    If you're tired, swim to the bank of the river.
    If the context is clear, and the preceding sentences have established that the person is swimming in a river, then just:
    If you're tired, swim to the bank.

    Also:
    1. Of the two brothers he is taller/ he's taller.
    2. Of the two brothers he is the taller/ he's the taller.
    Colloquially, you will hear (1,) but (2) is grammatically correct; and here, I would advise you to use (2) which doesn't sound 'too correct' but does indicate you're 'educated'.

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