Editor Afloat

Dedicated to Sticklers everywhere!

Fast Grammar: Most Perfect? No.

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An adjective, remember, is a word that describes a noun or pronoun. “His new car is blue.” “She’s a happy baby.” An absolute adjective is an adjective with a meaning that is generally not capable of being intensified or compared. Also known as a non-gradable adjective, these words convey their own limits. Words such as “perfect” or “dead” are absolute adjectives. Although “most perfect” is often heard in today’s conversational English, it is not technically correct. You cannot be “less dead” or “slightly married”. Your test answers are either “true” or “false”. Here is a list of words that generally stand as non-gradable adjectives:

  • absolute
  • adequate
  • alive
  • complete
  • dead
  • divorced
  • empty
  • entire
  • equal
  • essential
  • eternal
  • extraneous
  • false
  • fatal
  • final
  • finite
  • first
  • full
  • ideal
  • imperfect
  • impossible
  • incomplete
  • inevitable
  • infinite
  • known
  • last
  • main
  • married
  • minor
  • non-essential
  • not fatal
  • not ideal
  • not pregnant
  • not unique
  • not universal
  • perfect
  • possible
  • preferable
  • pregnant
  • principal
  • round (or other shape)
  • separated (marital status)
  • single (marital status)
  • sufficient
  • true
  • unanimous
  • unavoidable
  • unequal
  • unique
  • universal
  • unknown
  • whole
  • widowed

This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you the idea. Exception: Some adjectives such as “nearly” and “almost” can sometimes be used to demonstrate attainment of a near-absolute state.

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Author: The Editor Afloat

The Editor Afloat provides proofreading and editing services for the written word. The name comes from the NCIS designation for a Special Agent assigned to a vessel, "Agent Afloat". I live on-board and work from my boat. That makes me an Editor Afloat!

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