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When can I say, "She's the prettiest of the TWO."?

Can anyone refer me to any authority that says it's okay to use the superlative form of adjectives when only 2 entities are discussed?
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I can't refer you to any such authority because I disagree with it. With two, you would say "prettier."
AnonymousWhen can I say, "She's the prettiest of the TWO."?

Can anyone refer me to any authority that says it's okay to use the superlative form of adjectives when only 2 entities are discussed?

She's the prettier of the two.

She's the taller of the twins.

If you could find an 'authority' who says your sentence "She's the prettiest of the TWO" is correct, then that 'authority' needs help in English too.
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AnonymousWhen can I say, "She's the prettiest of the TWO."?

Can anyone refer me to any authority that says it's okay to use the superlative form of adjectives when only 2 entities are discussed?
1 = descriptive; 2 = comparative; 3 or more = superlative. What more can we say?
Hi,
here's your "authority": http://www.bartleby.com/68/43/5843.html
It's taken from "The Columbia Guide to Standard American English". Basically, superlatives for two objects are ok as long as you don't use them in formal or kinda formal contexts. Kinda Emotion: smile
>When can I say, "She's the prettiest of the TWO."?

Never.

Or you risk starting another Trojan WarEmotion: smile
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KooyeenHi,
here's your "authority": http://www.bartleby.com/68/43/5843.html
It's taken from "The Columbia Guide to Standard American English". Basically, superlatives for two objects are ok as long as you don't use them in formal or kinda formal contexts. Kinda Emotion: smile
Thanks. Seems like it's more an American phenomenon than anything else. Apparently, I checked and

From Wikipedia (not so sure how reliable this one is):


Some prescriptive grammars hold that, when comparing only two entities, use of the superlative is ungrammatical: if the group were to contain only Adam and Bess, Adam would be older, while Bess would be younger and it would be ungrammatical to say that Adam was the oldest. The superlative degree used in reference to sets of two or less are found, however, in writing and speech. In an offer for auction to the "highest bidder" in which only one bid were received, for example, no rule of English grammar would negate the sale.[1]

From ABOUT.COM:



430. The superlative degree of the adjective (or adverb) is used regularly in comparing more than two things, but is also frequently used in comparing only two things.

Which do you love best to behold, the lamb or the lion? —Thackeray.

Which of these methods has the best effect? Both of them are the same to the sense, and differ only in form. —Dr Blair.

Rip was one of those ... who eat white bread or brown, whichever can be got easiest. —Irving.

It is hard to say whether the man of wisdom or the man of folly contributed most to the amusement of the party. —Scott.

There was an interval of three years between Mary and Anne. The eldest, Mary, was like the Stuarts—the younger was a fair English child. —Mrs. Oliphant.

Of the two great parties which at this hour almost share the nation between them, I should say that one has the best cause, and the other contains the best men. —Emerson.

In all disputes between States, though the strongest is nearly always mainly in the wrong, the weaker is often so in a minor degree. —Ruskin.

She thought him and Olivia extremely of a size, and would bid both to stand up to see which was the tallest. —Goldsmith.

These two properties seem essential to wit, more particularly the last of them. —Addison.

"Ha, ha, ha!" roared Goodman Brown when the wind laughed at him. "Let us see which will laugh loudest." —Hawthorne.



Marius Hancu>When can I say, "She's the prettiest of the TWO."?

Never.

Or you risk starting another Trojan WarEmotion: smile

Actually, in that case they were three Emotion: smile
Looks like many of us here weren't too aware of this alternative, including our moderators and guru contributors. Good to know that opinions can differ.
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