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Espanglishtips Page 2


-Comparative Forms
-Phrasal Verbs/ Prepositions

Comparative Forms

Comparative forms are really not that difficult in English. This is how to do it:
- Follow the rules
- Know the exceptions

The Rules:

When an adjective ends in two vowels and a consonant (eg. clean), just add -er (comparative) or -est (superlative). Example:
His room is cleaner than my room.
His room is the cleanest room in the house.

When an adjective ands in one vowel and two consonants (eg. tall, small), the same thing happens:
- Susan is taller than Laura
- Susan is the tallest girl in the class

When an adjective ends in one vowel and ons consonant, add an extra consonant:
- His Volvo is bigger than my Toyota
- Canada is the biggest country in the world

When an adjective ends in -e (eg. coarse, lone), add -r or -st

When an adjective has two syllables and ends in -y (eg. friendly), the y changes to i and then you add -er or -est:
friendly - friendlier - friendliest

When an adjective has two pr more syllables (except two syllables ending -y), add more or most:
- He is more intelligent than his brother
- Rolls Royce is the most expensive car in the world

And now.....a few common exceptions:

- new     - newer      - newest
- far     - farther    - farthest 
          - further    - furthest
- little  - less       - least  (adjective for non-count nouns)
- few     - fewer      - fewest (adjective for count nouns)

Try this exercise on Comparative and Superlative Forms.


The most common problem here is the capitalization of geographical names, because they simply don't do that in Spanish; therefore, it's usually hard to make students use capital letters when referring to a country or nationality. Example:

incorrect: "British english is very different from american english."
correct: "British English is very different from American English."


Probably because of the influence of American tv shows in Latin America, or visits/ studies in the United States, many students aren't aware of the difference between formal and informal English. It's not uncommon to find the following words in formal essays:

1. guys (boys/ people/ persons)
2. gals (girls)
3. kids (children)
4. gonna (going to)
5. wanna (want to)
6. cause/'cause/cos (because)
7. pretty (as in: it's pretty difficult; quite/ rather)
8. thru (through)

Phrasal Verbs/ Prepositions

Phrasal verbs are difficult and confusing, because their meaning is defined by the preposition. Here are some examples:


Look into               Investigate
Look after              Take care of
Look for                Search
Look out (for)          Be careful with
Look like               Look similar
Look over               Read/ Look at carefully


Come to                 Regain consciousness
Come over               Visit
Come down (with)        Get sick
Come up (with)          Get an idea/ suggestion
Come back               Return


Pick up                 Take from the ground/ collect someone
Pick out                Choose


Turn up                 Appear/ Show up
Turn over               Hand in officially
Turn down               Refuse


Move out                Start living on your own
Move over               Move aside


Give in                 Surrender
Give up                 Surrender


Break down              Collapse/ stop working (mechanical)


Call off                Cancel
Call up                 Call by telephone
Call down               Scold


Burn up                 Burn and disappear (paper, cigarette)
Burn down               Burn and collapse (building)
Burn out                Burn and stop working (electrical)


Run out of              Have nothing left of
Run into                Meet coincidentally

Try this exercise on Phrasal verbs.

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1999 - 2006 by Nico Wiersema, Laura Perez and Susan Dennen.

Espanglishtips Page 1.

Updated: October 19, 2006.

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