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The other day we were on the terrace lying back and trying to locate a satellite. It’s quite easy actually, because to the naked eye, a satellite looks like a moving star. Not a shooting star, just a star that seems to move. And it’s amazing how many stars we get to see here, and trust me, they’d put all the city lights to shame.

So anyway, we were lying back and looking out for satellites but didn’t see too many. After the first one, a friend commented, “The sky is too cloudy, or the stars would be more brighter.” That was when I lost it. I looked at him, looked up at the sky, and looked at him again. I thought I should tell him that it was incorrect usage, but my Joe was already giving me warning looks. So I continued to stare up at the sky, wondering if I should have still gone ahead and told him.

And what would I tell him? I would tell him about the basics of comparative adjective usage. See, an adjective modifies a noun or a pronoun by describing, identifying, or quantifying words. For example, in a sentence like “He submitted a hideous design template,” the adjective would be “hideous” because it is describing the design template he submitted.

Now adjectives may take on different forms, like, possessive, demonstrative, interrogative, etc. What we are concerned with here, are comparative adjectives. What are they? They are simply an adjective modified to compare two objects or persons. In the sense: “This book is good, but that one is better,” or “Dianne is way taller than you.”

Regular adjectives typically take a suffix “-er/-est” but there are some adjectives which do not take inflections. These are irregular adjectives. Words like “universal”, “wrong”, “final” do not have a comparative form, but take on the words “more” or “most” in comparison. For example, “While it is wrong to cheat someone, it is even more wrong to make a habit of that.”

Now to the real question. Why was my friend wrong when he said “more brighter”? He was wrong, in terms of grammar, because the moment he used the word “brighter”, he described a comparison. To use “more” before an adjective that has already taken a suffix adds nothing to the adjective and makes your sentence come across as very wrong. It is redundant to say “more” when you have said “brighter”. They are both adjectives, and one does not need the other to be modified or quantified. Likewise, “I am most tallest in the family” is also grammatically incorrect. Same reason: redundant usage of an adjective.

I’d still say go to the About.com site to get a clearer understanding of regular and irregular adjectives and comparatives.

But then, well, even Shakespeare made a mistake:

“My love’s more richer than my tongue”.
– (King Lear, Act I, Scene I).

Too bad I wasn’t around back then!