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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

SYNTAX/ Comparatives and Superlatives

291. Besides their regular signification (as in English), the forms of comparison are used as follows:—

a. The Comparative denotes a considerable or excessive degree of a quality: as,— brevior, rather short; audācior, too bold.

b. The Superlative (of eminence) often denotes a very high degree of a quality without implying a distinct comparison: as,— mōns altissimus, a very high mountain.

Note The Superlative of Eminence is much used in complimentary references to persons and may often be translated by the simple positive.

c. With quam, vel, or ūnus the Superlative denotes the highest possible degree:—

quam plūrimī, as many as possible.

quam maximē potest (maximē quam potest), as much as can be.

vel minimus, the very least.

vir ūnus doctissimus, the one most learned man.

Note 1A high degree of a quality is also denoted by such adverbs as admodum, valdē, very , or by per or prae in composition (§ 267 . d. 1): as,— valdē malus, very bad = pessimus; permāgnus, very great; praealtus, very high (or deep).

Note 2 A low degree of a quality is indicated by sub in composition: as,— subrūsticus, rather clownish, or by minus, not very; minimē, not at all; parum, not enough; nōn satis, not much.

Note 3 The comparative mâiōrēs (for mâiōrēs nātū, greater by birth) has the special signification of ancestors; so minōrēs often means descendants.

For the Superlative with quisque, see § 313 . b. For the construction of a substantive after a Comparative, see §§ 406, 407; for that of a clause, see § 535 . c, 571. a. For the Ablative of Degree of Difference with a Comparative (multō etc.), see § 414.

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