# PSAT Writing : Identifying Comparative and Superlative Errors

## Example Questions

### Example Question #271 : Identifying Word Usage Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Of the three elements necessary to create metal alloys, titanium is the stronger, lead is the heaviest, and aluminum is the most pliable. No error

most pliable

heaviest

No error

necessary to

stronger

stronger

Explanation:

Remember to use the comparative form of an adjective (the form that ends in "-er" or is preceded by "more") when comparing only two items, and to use the superlative form of an adjective (the form that ends in "-est" or is preceded by "most") when comparing more than two items. This sentence tells us that there are three items being compared, so "heaviest" and "most pliable" are correct here. Only "stronger" is in the comparative form when it should be in the superlative form, so it contains the sentence's error. The answer choice "necessary to" is a correct use of the idiom.

### Example Question #272 : Identifying Word Usage Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

In demand as magazine editor and resident gossip queen, Paulina has never been more busier than she is this week. No error

No error

as

has never been

more busier

she is

more busier

Explanation:

The phrase "more busier" is redundant—it should just be "busier," which implies the "more" aspect already. As seems like an attractive choice, but the phrase "in demand as magazine editor" displays proper idiomatic usage.

### Example Question #21 : Identifying Comparative And Superlative Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Alex has less ideas than his brother on how to convince their mother to buy them new television. No error

less

than

No error

to convince

has

less

Explanation:

We use the word "less" to describe a quantity that doesn't have discrete parts. For example, we can say that we have "less money," because money doesn't have an inherent discrete unit; however, we cannot say that we have "less dollars" because a dollar is a discrete unit of dollars. In the case of the sentence above, since ideas have a discrete unit of a single idea, we say "fewer ideas," not "less ideas."

### Example Question #22 : Identifying Comparative And Superlative Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Among the twins, Lisa seems to be the more athletic one because she participates in more sports and also works in the health and fitness industry. No error

more athletic one

health and fitness industry

No error

more sports

Among

Among

Explanation:

When two subjects are being compared (such as the twins in this sentence), the appropriate preposition to use for comparison is "between." "Among" is only appropriate when three or more subjects are being compared.

### Example Question #23 : Identifying Comparative And Superlative Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

After Bobby counted how many Christmas presents he had compared to his brother, he became very upset when he realized that he had less presents. No error

how many

became

No error

compared

less

less

Explanation:

When describing the quantity of an item that is countable, like "presents," "fewer" should be used. "Less" should only be used when a particular item is not countable, as in "less water" or "less fuel."

### Example Question #21 : Identifying Comparative And Superlative Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Between Melville’s Moby Dick and Cervantes’ Don Quixote, I find the latter to be most compelling. No error

find

most

latter

Between

No error

most

Explanation:

This sentence uses a superlative incorrectly. Since there are only two options, “more” should be used instead of “most.” The corrected sentence reads, "Between Melville’s Moby Dick and Cervantes’ Don Quixote, I find the latter to be more compelling."

### Example Question #22 : Identifying Comparative And Superlative Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Of English and biology, I find English to be the most challenging subject—nothing is logicalNo error

No error

nothing

logical

most

Of English and biology

most

Explanation:

This sentence uses a superlative (“most”) when comparing between only two items. The comparative “more” is better here. The corrected sentence reads: Of English and biology, I find English to be the more challenging subject—nothing is logical!

### Example Question #23 : Identifying Comparative And Superlative Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The mushroom-topped cheeseburger and the roasted beet salad both sounded appealing, but Henry decided that the cheeseburger was likely to keep him full longest. No error

but

was likely to keep

No error

both sounded

longest

longest

Explanation:

This sentence uses a superlative adjective (“longest”) to make a comparison between only two items (the cheeseburger and the salad). Superlative adjectives are used to compare three or more items. A comparative adjective would be grammatically correct. The corrected sentence reads: "The mushroom-topped cheeseburger and the roasted beet salad both sounded appealing, but Henry decided that the cheeseburger was likely to keep him full longer."

### Example Question #24 : Identifying Comparative And Superlative Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

While my friends Jenny, Tom, and Beth all enjoy breaking into spontaneous song and dance routines, Beth gets the bigger kick out of it. No error

While

No error

and

bigger

enjoy breaking into

bigger

Explanation:

This sentence uses a comparative adjective “bigger” when there are three elements being compared. With three or more elements, a superlative (in this case “biggest”) is required. The corrected sentence reads, "While my friends Jenny, Tom, and Beth all enjoy breaking into spontaneous song and dance routines, Beth gets the biggest kick out of it."

### Example Question #25 : Identifying Comparative And Superlative Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Richard debated endlessly between two options on the drug store shelf: the sour candies were fun because they made you pucker, but the lollipops were the most convenient because they came on little white sticks. No error

No error

were fun

they

debated endlessly

the most convenient