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Comparatives and Superlatives.


Besides their regular signification (as in English), the forms of comparison are used as follows: -

a. The Comparative denotes a considerable or excessive degree of a quality: as, - brevior, rather short; audácior, too bold.

b. The Superlative (of eminence) often denotes a very high degree of a quality without implying a distinct comparison: as, - móns altissimus, a very high mountain.

NOTE: The Superlative oi Eminence is much used in complimentary references to persons and may often be translated by the simple positive.

c. With quam, vel, or únus the Superlative denotes the highest possible degree: -

NOTE 1: A high degree of a quality is also denoted by such adverbs as admodum, valde, very, or by per or prae in composition (§ 267 d. 1): as, - valde malus, very bad=pessimus; permágnus, very great; praealtus, very high (or deep).

NOTE 2: A low degree of a quality is indicated by sub in composition: as, - subrústicus, rather clownish, or by minus, not very; minimé, not at all; parum, not enough, nón satís, not much.

NOTE 3: The comparative mâióres (for mâióres nátú, greater by birth) has the special signification of ancestors; so minóres often means descendants.

For the Superlative with quisque, see § 313. b. For the construction of a substantive after a Comparative, see §§ 406, 407; for that of a clause, see § 535. c, 571. a. For the Ablative of Degree of Difference with a Comparative (multó, etc.), see §414.