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calmer or more calm

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ESL Forum | English Vocabulary, Grammar and Idioms
position of 'very often' in a sentence | Expression: "While she was changing back..."
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calmer or more calm #1 (permalink) Sun Jan 13, 2008 17:05 pm   calmer or more calm

Dear All,

Could anyone tell me which is correct?

OR more calm

To tell the truth I've already seen both ways, but if I think of my studies I just don't understand why 'more calm' is also possible. It consists of just syllable, and I was taught that one syllable adjectives are formed with 'er (or -r) in the comparative.

Thank you for your reply.
I'm here quite often ;-)

Joined: 20 Feb 2007
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calmer or more calm #2 (permalink) Sun Jan 13, 2008 21:29 pm   calmer or more calm

Hi Liza

Basically, it is never wrong to use 'more + adjective'. It is simply far more typical to form the comparative of one-syllable adjectives by adding -er to the end of the word.

I'd say that 'calmer' would be the more usual form by far. However, it depends a bit on the sentence construction. For example, if you want to use 'calm' and another one or two adjectives together, and both/all should be comparative, it makes sense to simply use 'more' like this:

"He was more cool, calm and collected than I was after the robbery."

The sentence above is grammatically correct. The expression "cool, calm and collected" is also a fixed expression, so it tends to sound a bit awkward if you change the forms of the words:

"He was cooler, calmer and more collected than I was after the robbery." =>Although this sentence is also grammatically correct, it sounds more awkward to me than the first version.

In addition, if a one-syllable adjective is a word that isn't often used comparatively, I'd say that people sometimes use more rather than the -er ending for the simple reason that the particular adjective sounds unusual with an -er ending. You will sometimes find this noted in dictionaries.

I think we have discussed this topic at least once already. Have you tried the forum's search function?
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