Irregular Grades of Romance Adjectives

You can find the original outlook at gradus-comparationis-irregularis.doc.
My self-study book of Portuguese is about to teach me how to compare stuffs in Portuguese. And as I always find this particularly boring (no matter in which language), I decided to have some fun. So, I opened my books and some sites and compared the Comparative and Superlative grades of the adjectives in the languages of the Romance family :}
Before the tables, I’d like to put down some notes:
First, almost all of the modern language form comparative and superlative forms analytically, which means that they use particles and adverbs instead of using inherited synthetic forms from Latin (which are the point of this comparison). So, for forming a Comparative grade, the Romance language use the following constructions:
Comparative (+) Comparative (-) Comparative (=)
Fr plus … que moins … que aussi … que
It più … di meno … di così … come
tanto … quanto
tale … quale
Es más … que menos … que tan … como
mais … (do) que menos … (do) que tão … como
Ro mai…. decât/ca mai puţin… decât/ca la fel de
tot aşa de ca, ca şi
tot atât de

Now, for the irregular forms, I couldn’t find any of them in Romanian. About the descendants of Latin’s multus, as we saw, they are used for the analytic forms of Comparison. what I forgot to mention is that the Superlative forms are most of the time articulated Comparatives. But the Absolute Superlative forms are made by the suffix -issimus, a, um which reflects in the modern languages as -íssimo,a(pt), -ísimo,a (es) , -issimo,a (it); of course these are the synthetic forms ^_^

Positivus Comperativus Superlativus
Lat bonus,a,um melior, melius optimus,a,um
It buono,a migliore ottimo,a
Old Fr bon mieudre(N)/meillor(Obl)
Fr bon,bonne meilleur,e le (la) meilleur,e
Es bueno,a mejor el mejor
Pt bom,a melhor óptimo

Positivus Comperativus Superlativus
Lat malus,a,um peior, palius pessimus,a,um
It cattivo,a peggiore pessiomo
Old Fr mal pire (N)/ peior(Obl) pesme, malisme
Fr mauvais,e pire le (la) pire
Es malo,a peor el peor
Pt mau,má pior péssimo

Positivus Comperativus Superlativus
Lat magnus,a,um maior,maius maximus,a,um
It grande maggiore massiomo,a
Old Fr grant garindre(N) /graignor(Obl) maire(N) /maior(Obl)
Fr grand,e plus grand,e le (la) plus grand,e
Es grande mayor el mayor
Pt grande maior máximo

Positivus Comperativus Superlativus
Lat parvus,a,um minor,minus minimus,a,um
It piccolo,a minore minimo,a
Old Fr petit mendre(N)/ menor(Obl) merme
Fr petit,e moindre le (la) moindre
Es pequeño,a menor el menor
Pt pequeno,a menor mínimo

Positivus Comperativus Superlativus
Lat multus,a,um -, plus(n) plurimus,a,um
It molto (used as an adverb)
Fr plus (used as a particle)
Es muy, mucho (used as adverbs and particles )
Pt muito (used as an adverb)


One thought on “Irregular Grades of Romance Adjectives

  1. So this topic bores you? 😀 Curiously, it’s a topic that interests me – even back at school, when we studied comparatives and superlatives in Portuguese, I found it a very interesting topic, especially the absolute superlatives (because of all their apparent irregularities).

    And just because I’m never sure if your book points out such differences, óptimo is European spelling; in Brazil we spell it ótimo.


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