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Comparative / superlative

Forum > English only || Bottom

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Comparative / superlative
Message from carlabice47 posted on 21-01-2014 at 16:59:59 (D | E | F)
Hi, everybody.
I happen to read in novels or newspaper articles like:
"One of the more popular places in New York...(Lester Holt's A Symbol of New York)
I know that one has to use the + comparative form when there's a comparison between two people or two groups, such as :
The more important house of English Parliament is the House of Commons.." but in the case above I'd have said " one of the most popular.."
Is it a mistake or language evolving?
Thank you very much; answers will be much appreciated

Edited by lucile83 on 21-01-2014 21:58

Re: Comparative / superlative from irieoscard, posted on 21-01-2014 at 17:29:57 (D | E)

you're right when you say that one use the most or least + adjective to express the superlative and not the + more.So if you're sure of what you readed read in the newspaper,this can be a mistake.

Edited by lucile83 on 21-01-2014 22:00

Re: Comparative / superlative from carlabice47, posted on 21-01-2014 at 17:53:29 (D | E)
oh no, I've seen it in many novels and magazines: I think it's a new usage of the language, because it evolves and changes .
Thank you all the same.

Re: Comparative / superlative from ruediger60, posted on 21-01-2014 at 18:19:17 (D | E)

Edited by lucile83 on 21-01-2014 22:03
Sorry but this is the English only forum.

Re: Comparative / superlative from violet91, posted on 21-01-2014 at 18:20:59 (D | E)
Hello ,

A comparative is not a superlative , yet ! You should absolutely use - One of the most popular stars .../ one of the most difficult things to understand is why grammar should not follow the rules ! To make things easier or just incorrect ?
- when you compare two things or two people , this is true , you get -
- the more hard-working of the twins is Oscar so the less one is Gaspard !
- the two Houses of British Parliament > The house of Commons seems to be more attached to this ....and the House of Lords , more attached to that .
- If you had triplets , you would say in good and proper English : the funniest is Fifi , the most absent-minded is Loulou and the most surprising is Riri !
And you say ' The more , the merrier ' !

Re: Comparative / superlative from friendlyricain, posted on 21-01-2014 at 20:47:15 (D | E)
Yeah this is actually becoming more and more common. It may not be grammatically correct, however, 'one of the more popular places' does have a slightly different meaning than 'one of the most popular places'.

Re: Comparative / superlative from violet91, posted on 21-01-2014 at 21:29:46 (D | E)
Hi again ,

I notice both of you use an American English ...this is the point . As an English teacher , I have neither seen nor heard comparatives used like that in GB . Why not stick to the rules yourselves especially as you perfectly know what is proper or not .
A fashion as we have overhere and nobody is obliged to follow it when he -/she likes speaking well .
- you know English speakers sometimes say - ' I don't know nothing , love ! ' : a double negation which is totally agrammatical ! can hear it according to the level of education and class . You know it is a very big mistake ( nonsense, actually) , but you admit it exists without borrowing such a thing .

Re: Comparative / superlative from gerondif, posted on 21-01-2014 at 21:43:20 (D | E)
what is the chap divides in his head New York into two halves, one with the more popular places and one with the less popular places(than before) ?
Or what if he thought? " One of the more popular places than others usually visited is......."

I would make a difference between: One of the most visited places in NYC is the Statue of Liberty.
One of the more visited places these days seems to be that new building at ground zero.... where the choice seems to narrow down a bit more between the more visited and the less visited places ...

Re: Comparative / superlative from friendlyricain, posted on 21-01-2014 at 22:03:15 (D | E)
I'm not sure I would compare 'one of the more' to something like 'I don't know nothing'. I've heard plenty of a very well educated people use this phrase, and the reason is simply that 'one of the more' has a different meaning than 'one of the most'. 'One of the more' implies that it exceeds the average, whereas 'one of the most' exceeds all, or nearly all.

Now you can argue what's proper, but that won't make it any less common in books, magazines, etc. The phrase does still have a different meaning, and I don't think carlabice (or anyone else for that matter) should just brush it off as bad English when they come across it.

Edited by lucile83 on 21-01-2014 22:11

Re: Comparative / superlative from ruediger60, posted on 21-01-2014 at 22:30:48 (D | E)
Hi again,

I hope I'm not too stubborn about this but I still haven't fully understood the problem. If I say "I'm going to buy a more expensive car" I believe that people will understand that I am not buying the most expensive car. The precise meaning of 'more expensive' would depend on the context or who I am talking to. Someone I know might understand "more expensive than the one I have now". The car dealer might reply "you can see our more expensive cars over there". Does leaving out this easily understood information render the phrase grammatically incorrect? Or could it be that expressions like "more expensive", "more popular" function simply as compound adjectives? The faster cars (the *more fast* cars) are on the other lot. The one by the driveway is the fastest. If it's just a two-word adjective then it would indeed simply be used to mark differences of degree.
I am asking this because I, like carlabice47, do hear and read this construction very often and seemingly in all registers.
And what about a phrase like "my better half" ? John, this is Anne, my better half. But maybe that's simply an idiom ?

Edited by ruediger60 on 21-01-2014 22:41

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