“Comparative” Versus “Superlative” Form on GMAT

In this short video, understand the usage of "Comparative form" versus "Superlative form" on the GMAT sentence correction questions.

Comparative Versus Superlative Form on the GMAT

On the GMAT, comparative and superlative are both terms used to describe adjectives, while making comparisons. In this short article, we will cover the usage of the comparative and superlative forms, as well as the meaning behind them.

Comparative Form and Superlative Form

The comparative form is used when a comparison is made between two elements and, the superlative form is used when there are three or more elements, involved in the comparison. Let us illustrate this concept through the following examples:

Example 1 - Rose is older of the two sisters.
In this example, as only the ages of two elements are being compared, Rose and her sister, the comparative form of the word "old", "older", is the correct usage. Thus, this sentence is correct.

Example 2 - Rose is the oldest person in her family.
In example 2, the ages of everyone in Rose's family, presumably more than two people, are being compared to hers. Thus, as the sentence involves more than two elements, the superlative form of the word "old", "oldest" is used, signifying that the noun that it is used to describe possesses the most or most extreme form of a particular quality, in this case, age.

The difference between the comparative and superlative forms may seem somewhat trivial, but understanding it will enable you to tackle a number of tricky GMAT sentence correction questions succesfully.

This article has deliberately been kept brief; for a more elaborate explanation, please refer to Experts' Global's Stage One Sentence Correction videos.

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