Comparative / Superlative Adjective and Adverb

Learn how to use them

Language of comparison and contrast

In Describe Image items, you are likely to be presented with a graph. In these cases, it is important that you show appropriate relationships by comparing and contrasting the information contained in the graphs. Let’s see how you can use language of comparison and contrast.

Comparative adjectives: Use these when comparing two nouns and can be formed as follows:

  • Adjectives with one syllable: add ‘-r/-er’ (e.g. higher, larger, bigger).
  • Adjectives with two syllables ending in ‘-y’: change the ‘y’ and add ‘-ier’ (e.g. happier, prettier).
  • Adjectives ending in ‘-ed’ or ‘-ing’ and most adjectives with two syllables: add ‘more’ before the adjective (e.g. more boring, more crowded, more common, more peaceful).
  • Adjectives with three or more syllables: use ‘more’ before the adjective (e.g. more attractive, more successful).
  • Include ‘than’ as part of your sentence (e.g. It is more expensive to live in a city than in a small town).

Superlative adjectives: Use these when describing a noun that is at the highest or lowest limit of a group. They can be formed as follows:

  • Adjectives with one syllable: add ‘-st/-est’ (e.g. highest, largest, biggest).
  • Adjectives with two syllables ending in ‘-y’: change the ‘y’ and add ‘-iest’ (e.g. happiest, prettiest).
  • Adjectives ending in ‘-ed’ or ‘-ing’ and most adjectives with two syllables: add ‘the most’ before the adjective (e.g. the most boring, the most crowded, the most common, the most peaceful).
  • Adjectives with three or more syllables: use ‘the most’ before the adjective (e.g. the most attractive, the most successful).
  • Remember to include ‘the’ before the adjective or most (e.g. This was the cheapest car I could find.).

Comparative/superlative adverbs: The rules above apply when the comparison requires the use of an adverb. Examples:

  • I usually speak more quickly than my friends.
  • The students often work harder towards the end of the semester.
  • You can contact me the easiest by text.
  • The team played the best they could, but they didn’t win the match.

as … as: Use this structure when the two nouns being compared are equal in some form. The adjective does not change. Examples:

  • Divorce rates are twice as high as they were last year.
  • This room is as big as the one next door.

This structure can also be used with adverbs to compare two actions:

  • We didn’t finish as quickly as we’d hoped.
  • The presenter spoke as enthusiastically as he possibly could.

Comparison and contrast language is especially useful for Describe Image tasks. Look at some example sentences from student responses to this item type:

  • The land allocated for the public park is significantly smaller than the land allocated for the school.
  • The roads are much busier during June than they are in December.
  • The most important export for this country is oil.

© Macquarie University

Writing a summary

How to summarise

The following outlines the three stages and steps for summarising.

Before writing:

  • Quickly scan the passage to identify the topic and purpose.
  • Read the passage carefully to understand the content. Try to infer the meaning of any unknown words and phrases.
  • Re-read the passage and note down the topic sentences and key words on your erasable noteboard.

While writing:

  • Stick to the topic and purpose of the text. Keep the meaning and degree of certainty the same as the original writing.
  • Focus on the key words and the main ideas only. Key points in the text will usually be repeated, developed and highlighted; include these in your writing.
  • Write your summary without referring to the original, making sure to include all the main points. Do not include examples or supporting evidence in your summary.
  • Use vocabulary that is relevant to the passage and appropriate for an academic environment. The best test responses use words from the passage appropriately and use synonyms effectively to show variety and range in language use.
  • Do not add anything to the summary that was not present in the original and you should not include your opinion.

After writing

  • Check the content of your summary to make sure it conveys the main ideas in the passage.
  • Check that the basic structure of the sentence is correct. The best test responses are usually complex sentences that consist of a main clause and subordinate clause.
  • Check punctuation and spelling. Make sure your sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop.
  • Check the length of your summary. Make sure you write only one sentence that is no more than 75 words long. Check your word count after you have typed your response.

Terminology for Reading and Listening

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Reading for gist/Skimming

Reading quickly to get a general understanding of a written text, eg reading a description of a city to find out if it sounds like somewhere you’d like to visit.

Reading for specific information/Scanning

Searching for a particular piece of information in a written text, eg reading a description of a city only to find out which country it’s in.

Reading/listening for detail

Reading or listening more carefully so that you get a full understanding of the text, eg reading a description of a city to find out everything about it.

Listening for gist

Getting a general understanding of something you hear, eg listening to the weather forecast and deciding you might need to take an umbrella when you go out.

Listening for specific information

Listening for a particular piece of information, eg listening to the weather forecast to find out what the temperature will be tomorrow.

Inferring meaning

Making guesses about what is not stated explicitly in a text, eg listening or reading a conversation and deciding that the people are brother and sister without them saying so.

Coherence

Organising ideas in a logical way when speaking or writing so that the listener or reader can follow our ideas.

Cohesion

Joining sentences together using words like and, but and because so our language flows more easily.

Interactive strategies

Strategies we use when we are speaking, eg showing you are listening to other people by saying things like, mmmm or uh-uh or oh!

Turn taking

An interactive strategy which is about knowing when you can join in a conversation and signalling when you think someone else should speak.

Fluency

For speaking; this is speaking without a lot of hesitation and too many long pauses. For writing; this means you can write without stopping for a long time to think about what to write.

Play and learning

We’ve talked about why children play and the benefits of play, but the idea still persists that if it’s too much fun, children are not learning.

However, the evidence suggests the opposite. Research shows that children actually learn through play. Play is learning.

Internationally renowned expert on early childhood and play, Tina Bruce, outlines in her book, Early Childhood Education, the 12 features of free-flow play:

1. Children use the first-hand experiencesthey have had in life during play.

2. Children keep control as they play. Play does not bow to pressure to conform to external rules, outcomes, targets or adult-led projects.

3. Play is a process. It has no products.

4. Children choose to play. It is intrinsically motivated and spontaneous.

5. Children rehearse their possible futures in their play. Play helps children learn to function in advance of what they can do in the present.

6. Play has the potential to take children into a world of pretend, beyond the here and now, in the past, present and future, and it transforms them into different characters.

7. Play can be solitary, and this sort of play can be very deep.

8. Children can play together or with an adult, in companionship (parallel play), associatively or cooperatively in pairs or groups.

9. Play can be initiated by a child or an adult, but adults need to respect the child’s play agenda by not insisting that the adult agenda dominates the play.

10. Child-led play is characterised by deep concentration.

11. In play, children try out their recent learning, mastery, competence and skills, and consolidate them.

12. Play makes children into whole people, able to keep balancing their lives in a fast-changing world.

Tina Bruce (2015) Early Childhood Education 5th Edition

Why is it so hard to choose broccoli 🥦 over doughnut 🍩

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Entrevista de Trabalho – parte 2

To summarise, if you are to be interviewed for a job you should understand:

  • the services or products the organisation deals with
  • the organisation’s aims and values – what does it say in its ‘mission statement’?
  • how you will fit in with its values. Can you identify its culture?
  • who its clients / customers are
  • who its competitors are and how the organisation compares to them
  • if the organisation has been in the news recently and why?

Researching an institution

If you have applied for a course, you may be invited for an interview, although this varies between departments and at different universities or colleges. If you have applied to do postgraduate research you will almost always be invited to interview.

Before you attend, you should understand:

  • the institution and department that you wish to join and its strengths
  • the aims and values of the institution – what does it say in its ‘mission statement’?
  • how you will fit in with its values. Can you identify its culture?
  • the key areas of research currently being undertaken or the structure of the course
  • the types of careers that students progress on to after completion
  • if the institution has been in the news recently and why?

© The University of Sheffield