Narrower or more narrow?

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Bernhard Katzer:
Hello again,
According to our grammar rules the comaprison of "narrow" should be "narrower, narrowest".
Is also acceptable to use "more narrow, most narrow"? Thanks again.
Bernhard
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Joanne Marinelli:
[nq:1]Hello again, According to our grammar rules the comaprison of "narrow" should be "narrower, narrowest". Is also acceptable to use "more narrow, most narrow"? Thanks again. Bernhard[/nq]
The general rule of thumb is that the superlative doesn't need to be modified by an adjective like more, because superlatives are already dealing with degree.
Example:
This is the narrowest road in the town.
However, context is the supreme arbiter of usage, and I would not be aghast at a phrase like "more narrow" if it is necessary, though I admit I can't think of when it would be.
Joanne
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Raymond S. Wise:
[nq:1]Hello again, According to our grammar rules the comaprison of "narrow" should be "narrower, narrowest". Is also acceptable to use "more narrow, most narrow"? Thanks again.[/nq]
The rules shown at
http://www.edufind.com/english/grammar/ADJECTIVES5.cfm

seem to be a pretty sound guide for showing when "-er" and "-est" must be used to form the comparative and superlative, respectively, and when "more" and "most" must be used, and when either "er"/"-est" or "more"/"most" are acceptable.

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
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Nico:
"Bernhard Katzer" (Email Removed) schreef in bericht
[nq:1]Hello again, According to our grammar rules the comaprison of "narrow" should be "narrower, narrowest". Is also acceptable to use "more narrow, most narrow"? Thanks again. Bernhard[/nq]
Hello Bernhard,
I am not a native speaker, so take my view cum grano salis.

I think that in many languages at the moment there is a development towards phrases like 'most narrow' etc.
At least, that's what I see in my own language (Dutch).

We, too, tend to form degrees of comparison by adding 'er' and '(e)st' for shorter words.
However, young speakers tend to prefer the 'meer-meest' (more-most) approach.
And so, in Dutch we now see 'meest mooi' instead of 'mooist'.

The funny thing is, nobody would dream of saying 'meer mooi' instead of 'mooier'.
(The Dutch word 'mooi' means 'beautiful', if you are curious to know ...)

I am not really a linguist, but this reminds me of what I used to be taught in school about the Latin 'absolute superlative'.
If I remember correctly, such a superlative in Latin carries a strong emphasis, not really an element of comparison at all.

Would that tie in with modern usage, which, I am sorry to say, may at times want moderation and subtlety?
Nico
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Anonymous:
[nq:2]Hello again, According to our grammar rules the comaprison of ... acceptable to use "more narrow, most narrow"? Thanks again. Bernhard[/nq]
[nq:1]Hello Bernhard, I am not a native speaker, so take my view cum grano salis. I think that in many ... really a linguist, but this reminds me of what I used to betaught in school about the Latin 'absolute superlative'.[/nq]
I just wanted to make a comment about that. Italian still has an absolute superlative an a relative superlative and they are both very much used.
GFC
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Anonymous:
[nq:2]Hello again, According to our grammar rules the comaprison of ... acceptable to use "more narrow, most narrow"? Thanks again. Bernhard[/nq]
[nq:1]The general rule of thumb is that the superlative doesn't need to be modified by an adjective like more,[/nq]
I don't think superlatives are ever modified by "more". Are they? Did you perhaps mean "most"?
more narrow = comparative
the most narrow = superlative
because superlatives are already dealing
[nq:1]with degree.[/nq]
They are dealing with degree if they are preceded by most or have a suffix (~est). The word narrow by itself does not deal with degrees. I think Bernhard was asking whether the use of more and most instead of ~er and ~est is acceptable. I believe the rule says that 2 syllable adjectives take "more" and "most". However, words ending in Y and OW use the suffixes for the comparative and superlative. Even though narrower and the narrowest are the correct forms, more narrow and the most narrow seem to be catching on.
GFC
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Joanne Marinelli:
I disagree with you here. Narrow is already an implied comparison with something wider, so it is a word dealing with degree.
[nq:1]I think Bernhard was asking whether the use of more and most instead of ~er and ~est is acceptable.[/nq]
And to that I posted context is the ultimate guide, without differeniating between the comparative and the superlative, as did Raymond.

I believe the rule says that 2 syllable
[nq:1]adjectives take "more" and "most". However, words ending in Y and OW use the suffixes for the comparative and superlative. Even though narrower and the narrowest are the correct forms, more narrow and the most narrow seem to be catching on.[/nq]
Screw the rules. One can conceive of a sentence like "This is the marshiest area of Florida I've been to on foot."
Joanne
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Anonymous:
Again that statement does not make sense. When is a superlative ever modified by "more". Can you give me an example?
[nq:2]I don't think superlatives are ever modified by "more". Are ... (~est). The word narrow by itself does not deal withdegrees.[/nq]
[nq:1]I disagree with you here. Narrow is already an implied comparisonwith something wider, so it is a word dealing with degree.[/nq]I know that "narrow is narrower than wide (obvioulsy!), but we are not talking about the meaning of an adjective compared to another adjective. We are talking about degrees of two or more entities that all have the same characteristic. According to your logic then, beautiful is already a superlative or a comparative because it's at a higher degree of beauty than "pretty". We can say the same for "long" because it's longer than "short". When you use a comprative or a superlative you compare one characteristic only, in our case "narrow".

You do not compare two charcteristics (as narrow and wide for example. )One room is 6 feet wide. One room is 7 feet wide, and one is 8 feet wide. They are all narrow. If you compare each one to a normal room, then you are right in saying that narrow aready implies a degree. But that's not what superlatives and compartives do. Comparatives and superlatives compare items with the same characteristic (in our case narrow) to each other. Now that you have determined that they are all narrow, you can determine which is the narrowest.

Wow! I didn't mean to upset you. Please lighten up. This is only a discussion of comparatives and superlatives. Besides, both you and Bernhard mentioned the existence of a rule before I did.

One can conceive of a sentence like "This is the marshiest
[nq:1]area of Florida I've been to on foot."[/nq]
Yes, one can.
[nq:1]Joanne[/nq]
GFC
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Joanne Marinelli:
[nq:1]I know that "narrow is narrower than wide (obvioulsy!), but we are not talking about the meaning of an adjective ... logic then, beautiful is already a superlative or a comparative because it's at a higher degree of beauty than "pretty".[/nq]
And what is wrong with that logic? The human mind doesn't work in a vaccuum. If one is beautiful then one is more than pretty. To me it is always implicit that the comparison is there
We can say the same for "long"
[nq:1]because it's longer than "short". When you use a comprative or a superlative you compare one characteristic only, in our ... is 6 feet wide. One room is 7 feet wide, and one is 8 feet wide. They are all narrow.[/nq]
According to the speaker's perception. I might say an 8 foot room is perfect for me, its degree of narrowness never entering my mind

If you compare each one to a normal room,
[nq:1]then you are right in saying that narrow aready implies a degree. But that's not what superlatives and compartives do.[/nq]
Again, to me this isn't how language works in the human mind.

narrow
narrower
narrowest
are certainly dealing with like characteristics, but within a framework where other comparisons are understood even if unstated. In order to say this is narrow you have to know it isn't wide. If the rooms in the doll house are tiny and the furniture is minature then the speaker knows why the word small is too large, and why largeness would in fact be eliminated.

Joanne
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