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What are absolute adjectives?

Average: 3.7 (43 votes)

Take a look at these very short sentences:

"He's tall."

"He's dead."

They both contain adjectives: tall and dead.

Tall can be used in comparative sentences:

"He's taller than me."

Dead can NOT be used in comparative sentences:

"He's deader than me."

You are either 'dead' or not; you can not be 'dead-er' or 'more dead' than someone.

Dead is therefore an example of an absolute adjective - adjectives that can not take a comparative or superlative ('dead-est') form.

Using an absolute adjective in a comparative sentences makes your English sound strange so watch out!

Another example of an absolute adjective is 'unique' because it means 'one of a kind' and, therefore, it can not be 'more unique' than something. It's either 'unique' or it isn't.

How about these words, are they absolute adjectives or not?

Link: Prepositions in phrasal verbs

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