Grammar Patterns

Comparative adjectives

Function 5: Indicating a break

Comparative adjectives are sometimes used to indicate a break between one part of what is being said and the next. The comparative adjective also indicates a link between the two parts.
The comparative adjective may be found with a noun such as evidence, explanation, possibility, problem, reason or suggestion, which indicates the function of something that is being said. When a comparative is found with a noun of this kind, it indicates that the noun applies to two parts of what is being said: the part that comes before the comparative, and the part that comes after it.
I spent the night in Dearborn for two reasons. First, it would mean not having to spend the night in Detroit, the city with the highest murder rate in the country. My second and more compelling reason for going to Dearborn was to see the Henry Ford Museum, a place my father had taken us when I was small and which I remembered fondly.
The temptation to assume similarities between Mars and the Earth led early astronomers astray. The dark areas, which range in colour from brown to grey-green, were termed seas and lakes in the belief that they really were filled with water. Towards the end of the 19th century astronomers realized that there were no oceans on Mars after all, but this opened the way for a much more intriguing explanation for the dark areas: that they were covered with primitive vegetation, such as moss or lichen.
The comparative adjective may be found on its own at the beginning of a clause to indicate the way in which something should be interpreted. The adjective most commonly used in this way is important.
The work placement is vital because the candidate develops valuable job-related skills, such as the use of computers. More important, they are able to show they can hold their own in a work environment.
He was a twice-divorced father of three with an encyclopedic knowledge of the works of Wagner. More important, he was Todd's right-hand man; loyal to a fault.
Relentless technological change is driving down many of the elements in the cost of a telephone call. Already, the cost of carrying an additional call is often so tiny that it might as well be free. More significant, carrying a call from London to New York costs virtually the same as carrying it from one house to the next.
The comparative adjective is sometimes part of a prepositional phrase.
Qualifications in science at 'A' level carry no guarantee that their holders have any of the skills and qualities which employers seek, including such mundane and old-fashioned virtues as honesty, reliability, neatness, a good speaking voice, unambiguous handwriting, evidence of manual dexterity and aptitude for practical work. At a more sophisticated level, 'A' level provides no evidence of the ability to work in a team, cooperate with others or of a wide range of communications skills.
The comparative adjective is sometimes the Complement of the clause, though appearing at the beginning of the clause.
His brightly coloured cut-velvet dresses looked fresh, but nasty neon lace dresses were less successful. Better was a more understated look: a simple sleeveless sheer top, layered over a longer, sparkly version.
'A quick glance at the statistics shows that most accidents happen to people who are hillwalking,' said Mr Payne. 'They just don't believe that they are taking a risk. Having qualifications for mountaineers wouldn't do any good because those people don't consider themselves mountaineers. More important is educating people in how dangerous mountains can be.'
Women nowadays try to get back into shape far too early. Photos of celebrities who have returned to a size 6 after having a baby don't help, but you must try to ignore these. More realistic is the example set by Eastern countries, where mothers take six weeks off to recover from the birth and let others take the strain while they concentrate on eating well, resting as much as possible and caring for their baby.
The comparative adjective sometimes follows the adverbs even or still. This indicates that what has gone before is, for example, interesting or important, as well as what comes after. If these adverbs are not used, what comes before may be interesting or important, or it may not.
In Longford's book, however, we are told that in February 1915 Frances Stevenson had an abortion. Even more intriguing is the further reference to the same thing having 'happened twice'.

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