brook
To Describe Things of Different Degrees

In Chinese, we can say 最真的. 更完美.

However, it is wrong to say "the truest," "the realest" or "more perfect."

Are there any other adjectives not used in the above situations?

Thanks 

Jun 16, 2014 11:28 AM
Comments · 5

So, the general rule is that one-syllable adjectives can take the -est ending. 

 

But you're right, the words "true" and "real" cannot. The reason is that they already represent the "highest level" of an idea.

 

Something is either true or false. How can it be "more true"? 

Something is either real or unreal. How can it be "more real"?

Something is either perfect or imperfect. How can it be "more perfect"? 

 

Native speakers will say these things all the time even though it's not grammatically correct, just for emphasis. 

 

 

June 16, 2014

Maybe mandarin speakers believe there are several degrees of perfectness; just like in math there are different degrees of infinity with one greater than others.

On the other hand, if we choose to see perfectness as the highest conceptual limit to something, than maybe in that view it doesn’t make a lot of sense to say “more perfect” or “the most perfect.”

 

P.S.: However if I remember it correctly, I think I’ve heard the expression “more than perfect” before… Maybe I heard it wrong...

June 16, 2014

@NoAgenda

@Cathy

Thank you for your illustration.

June 16, 2014

Mo

Thank you for paying attention to my question.

I would like to know adjectives in English.

June 16, 2014

Dear Brook,

Is your question only about Chinese or also about other languages?

Thankyou

Mo

June 16, 2014
brook
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (Taiwanese), English, Japanese
Learning Language
Chinese (Cantonese), English, Japanese