GMAT Verbal : Correcting Comparative and Superlative Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

← Previous 1 3

Example Question #22 : Correcting Adjective And Adverb Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Of all the new players to the varsity team, he was by far the better of the five.

Possible Answers:

far and away the better of the five.

by far the best of the five.

by far the better among the five.

by far the better of the five.

by far the better of the five of them.

Correct answer:

by far the best of the five.

Explanation:

When a comparison is made, "better" should only be used for a comparison of two individuals, while "best" is the appropriate superlative for comparisons involving three or more individuals. This means that in this sentence, "better" should be changed to "best." The correct answer is the only answer choice that makes this change: "by far the best of the five."

Example Question #23 : Correcting Adjective And Adverb Errors

Among my two brothers, Elliot is the tallest. 

Which option best replaces the underlined sentence?

Possible Answers:

Among my two brothers, Elliot is the tallest. 

Among my two brothers, Elliot is tall. 

Between my two brothers, Elliot is the taller. 

Among my two brothers, Elliot is the taller. 

Between my two brothers, Elliot is the tallest. 

Correct answer:

Between my two brothers, Elliot is the taller. 

Explanation:

The original sentence uses the superlative "tallest" when the comparative "taller" is correct. One can only be "tallest" among a group of three or more. Furthermore, the size of the group determines whether "between" or "among" is correct. "Between" is appropriate for a small group of specific objects. Compare "between New York and Pennsylvania" and "among the states of the union."

Example Question #24 : Correcting Adjective And Adverb Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Out of all of the potential outcomes of the deal, bankruptcy was certainly worse.

Possible Answers:

bankruptcy was worse.

bankruptcy certainly was worse.

bankruptcy was certainly bad.

bankruptcy was certainly the worst.

the worse was bankruptcy.

Correct answer:

bankruptcy was certainly the worst.

Explanation:

In this sentence "Out of all the possible outcomes" sets up the use of the superlative by suggesting that there are more than two possible outcomes, and that bankruptcy was the single worst of these many options. The correct answer is thus, "Of all the possible outcomes, bankruptcy was certainly the worst."

Unless it is explicitly stated that there were only two possible outcomes, it is incorrect to use "worse," which is a comparative adjective and would only be used if it was specifically stated that the comparison was being made between two outcomes.

Example Question #25 : Correcting Adjective And Adverb Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Between the fraternal twins, the boy was the best athlete, while the girl was the best artist.

Possible Answers:

a boy was the best athlete, while a girl was the best artist.

the boy was the best athlete, although the girl was the best artist.

the boy was the best athlete, while the girl was the best artist.

the boy is the best athlete, while the girl is the best artist.

the boy was the better athlete, while the girl was the better artist.

Correct answer:

the boy was the better athlete, while the girl was the better artist.

Explanation:

When comparing only two different people or things, as happens in this sentence between "the twins," the appropriate adjective is "better." In this sentence, both instances of "best" should be changed to "better." Therefore, the correct answer choice is "the boy was the better athlete, while the girl was the better artist."

Example Question #26 : Correcting Adjective And Adverb Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Carla enjoys both her jobs, but overall she likes working at the book store best.

Possible Answers:

Carla enjoys all her jobs, but overall she likes working at the book store better.

Carla enjoys both her jobs, but overall she likes working at the book store better.

Carla enjoys both her jobs, but overall she likes working at the book store the best.

Carla enjoys both her jobs, but overall she likes working at the book store well.

Carla enjoys some of her jobs, but overall she likes working at the book store better.

Correct answer:

Carla enjoys both her jobs, but overall she likes working at the book store better.

Explanation:

The use of the word "both" in the example sentence makes it clear that Carla only has TWO jobs; therefore, a comparative adverb ("better") must be used instead of a superlative adverb ("best"). Superlative adjectives and adverbs are used only when more than two items are being compared in a sentence. The correct version of the sentence reads, "Carla enjoys both her jobs, but overall she likes working at the book store better."

Example Question #467 : Correcting Usage Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Michael and Larry are both excellent basketball players, but Michael is best.

Possible Answers:

Michael and Larry are both excellent—but Michael is better—basketball players.

Michael and Larry are both excellent basketball players, and yet Michael is best.

Michael and Larry are both excellent basketball players, but Michael is better.

Michael and Larry are both excellent basketball players, but Michael is best.

Michael is the better basketball player, and yet both he and Larry are excellent at it.

Correct answer:

Michael and Larry are both excellent basketball players, but Michael is better.

Explanation:

Whenever you are comparing only two things, use the comparative form (usually words ending in "-er"—better, smarter, faster, and so forth). If there are three or more items, use the superlative form (usually ending in "-est"—best, smartest, fastest . . .) to designate the best one.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Comparative And Superlative Errors

If you compared my sister and me, you’d see that she was the best dancer.

Possible Answers:

If you compared my sister and I, you’d see that she was the better dancer.

If you compared my sister and me, you’d see that she was the best dancer.

If you compared my sister and me, you’d see that she was the better dancer.

If you compared my sister and I, you’d see that she was the best dancer.

If you compared my sister and I, you were to see that she was the best dancer.

Correct answer:

If you compared my sister and me, you’d see that she was the better dancer.

Explanation:

We use comparative adjectives when comparing two people or things (bigger, worse); we use superlative adjectives when comparing one person or thing with three or more people or things (the biggest, the worse).

Example Question #469 : Correcting Usage Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

 

If you look at Jamie, Jamal, and me, you will see that I am the shorter of the group.

Possible Answers:

If you look at Jamie, Jamal, and I, you will see that I am the shorter of the group. 

If you look at Jamie, Jamal, and me, you will see that I am the shortest of the group. 

If you look at Jamie, Jamal, and me, you will see that I am the shorter of the group.

If you look at Jamie, Jamal, and I, you will see that I am the shortest of the group. 

If you look at Jamie, Jamal, and me, you would see that I am the shorter of the group. 

Correct answer:

If you look at Jamie, Jamal, and me, you will see that I am the shortest of the group. 

Explanation:

We use comparative adjectives when comparing two people or things (bigger, worse, etc.); we use superlative adjectives when comparing one person or thing with three or more people or things (the biggest, the worst, etc.). Thus, here we use the superlative adjective “the shortest.” In the first clause, we use “me” instead of “I” because “me” is an object pronoun, and “me” is the indirect object of the verb “look.”.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Comparative And Superlative Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

 

He was a strongest boy that grew up into the biggest teenager in his town.

Possible Answers:

a strongly boy

a stronger boy

the strongest boy

a strongest boy

the strongly boy

Correct answer:

the strongest boy

Explanation:

The use of the form "strongest" is a superlative that indicates the peak of an adjective; therefore, there can be only one "strongest boy," and the phrase needs a definite article, "the," instead of the indefinite article, "a."

Example Question #31 : Correcting Adjective And Adverb Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

I have a lot of friends who did well on those exams, but I think that I will do more well than them.

Possible Answers:

gooder

more well

better

more good

best

Correct answer:

better

Explanation:

"More well" is not a phrase—the comparative form of "well" is not "more well," but "better." Since we are only comparing two groups (the speaker versus the speaker's friends), "better" is the most appropriate here.

← Previous 1 3
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: