What's the difference between hard and harder? Good and better? Fast and faster? Strong and stronger? This lesson will teach you about comparative adjectives, using the song "Stronger" by Kanye West. I'll also show you when you should add an "-er" to the end of the word and when you should put "more" in front of the word?
When do we use Comparative Adjectives?
We use comparative adjectives when we want to compare two things. We want to say one thing has more of a characteristic or trait than another.
Running 10 kilometers is hard. Running a marathon is harder than running 10 kilometers.
Buying an apartment in Berlin is expensive. Buying an apartment in Munich is more expensive.
When do I add "-er" and when do I write "more"?
It depends on how many syllables a word has.
For one-syllable words like hard, fast, and strong: add -er (just like Kanye did)
hard --> harder
fast --> faster
strong --> stronger
For two-syllable words that end in -y like happy, easy, and busy: change the 'y' to an 'i' and add -er
easy --> easier
busy --> busier
For all other two-syllable words and words with more than two syllables, put the word "more" before the word:
boring --> more boring
important --> more important
expensive -->more expensive
Now what about better? Is it the comparative form of bett? No, bett isn't a word in English (though it is a word in German: Bett = bed... but that's not really important right now).
Better is irregular. Sorry, some forms in English are irregular and you just have tot learn them. The two most important irregular forms are:
good --> better (don't say "more better"!!!)
bad --> worse (don't say "more worse"!!!)
Now it's time to listen to the song. Pay attention to the words that end in "-er."
Does this song follow standard grammar?
The quick answer, no.
The long answer: Lots of songs don't follow standard grammar. There are many reasons for this. First, sometimes it sounds nicer to play with the language a bit. Second, sometimes the singer is singing in his own dialect, using words and grammar that he would use in informal situations with family and friends. That means the song doesn't follow the rules you learned in school. And that's OK!
If you are wondering if something is standard grammar or not, write me in the comments below. Here are some examples of non-standard grammar in this song:
"I can't get much wronger."
The comparative form of wrong is actually "more wrong": it's an exception to the rules we showed above. But it's used in a humorous way. To say that something is more wrong, but to use the wrong form doing it, is quite ironic. Also, it rhymes with the previous line's "longer."
"Do anybody make real shit anymore"
In standard English, it's "Does anybody..." In Kanye's dialect he speaks in a different way. Neither is wrong, but most businesses and schools would not be very accepting of Kanye's dialect.
Idioms and References
Kanye, like most rappers, has tons of idioms and references in his songs:
"And she'll do anything for the limelight"
Limelight means the focus of lots of attention. It means that she would do whatever it takes to be famous and the center of attention.
"Go nuts, go apeshit"
Both of these phrases are idioms meaning to go crazy.
"You know how long I've been on ya,
Since Prince was on Apollonia,
Since O.J. had Isotoners"
This is references the late singer Prince. In the 1984 film 'Purple Rain,' he was in love with a character named Apollonia Kotero.
It also mentions O.J. Simpson - a famous American football player who was later accused of murdering his ex-wife. During the trial, there was an incident involving Isotoner brand gloves (the murder and trial happened in the 1990s and received a lot of media attention).
These both mean that Kanye has been interested in the woman for a long time.
All the Songs!