What Is the Positive Degree (with Examples)

What Is the Positive Degree (with Examples)

The term positive degree relates to adjectives and adverbs. An adjective or adverb that does not make a comparison is said to be in the positive degree. (In other words, the positive degree is the normal form of an adjective or adverb.)

In English, there are three degrees of comparison:

  • The Positive Degree. (This offers no comparison.)
  • (Examples: rich, pretty, handsome, good)

  • The Comparative Degree (This shows the greater or lesser degree.)
  • (Examples: richer, prettier, more handsome, better)

  • The Superlative Degree (This shows the greatest or least degree.)
  • (Examples: richest, prettiest, most handsome, best)
Read more about forming the comparative and superlative degrees of adjectives.
Read more about forming the comparative and superlative degrees of adverbs.

The Three Degrees of Comparison

The table below offers some more examples of the three degrees of comparison.

Positive DegreeComparative DegreeSuperlative Degree
sharp
(adjective)
sharpersharpest
happy
(adjective)
happierhappiest
precise
(adjective)
more precisemost precise
fast
(adverb)
fasterfastest
merrily
(adverb)
more merrily most merrily
badly
(adverb)
worseworst

Remember, however, that the comparative and superlative degrees show less and least degrees too. Therefore, the table above ought to look more like this:

Positive DegreeComparative DegreeSuperlative Degree
sharp
(adjective)
sharper
less sharp (or blunter)
sharpest
least sharp (or bluntest)
happy
(adjective)
happier
less happy (or sadder)
happiest
least happy (or saddest)
precise
(adjective)
more precise
less precise
most precise
least precise
fast
(adverb)
faster
slower (or, possibly, less fast)
fastest
slowest (or, possibly, least fast)
merrily
(adverb)
more merrily
less merrily
most merrily
least merrily
badly
(adverb)
worseworst



See also:

What is a double comparative?
More about the comparative and superlative degrees of adjectives
More about the comparative and superlative degrees of adverbs
Glossary of grammatical terms
 
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