phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Gradable and non-gradable

Posted by ESC on March 17, 2003

In Reply to: English grammar posted by ESC on March 17, 2003

: : I'd like to know how to discover when a adjective or adverb is gradable or non-gradable, without having to know a large list by heart. Can anybody help me?
: : Thanks.

: I don't understand the question. Do you mean gradable as in degrees -- "pretty, prettier, prettiest"? Or non-gradable meaning an absolute --"unique"? Something is unique or it's not.

Here's what I found:

"Adjectives can be divided into gradable and non-gradable (or classifying) adjectives. Gradable adjectives can be compared (happy-happier-happiest, good-better-best, beautiful-more beautiful-most beautiful) and modified with the intensifying word very. Non-gradable adjectives do not have comparative or superlative forms nor are they intensified: a financial plan, an electric train, semantic criteria."

Another good site is: