Comparison of Adjectives

There are a variety of ways to hide the stem of a adjective in its nominative form.

  • baburrus, -a, -um (stem barburo-) silly
  • levis, -e (stem levi-) fickle
  • fēlīx (stem fēlīc-) blessed
  • hebes (stem hebet-) dull

However, the majority of adjectives of all stem formations become comparatives and superlatives in the same way: with the addition of -ior (m/f) / ius (n) for comparatives, and the addition of -issimus, -a, -um for superlatives.

  • baburrus, -a, -um / baburrior, -ius / barburrissimus, -a, -um
  • levis, -e / levior, -ius / levissimus, -a, -um
  • fēlīx / fēlīcior, -ius / fēlīcissimus, -a, -um
  • hebes / hebetior, -ius / hebetissimus, -a, -um

There are a few things to note here. If an adjective is compared regularly,

  • It’s case ending will always have two options (m/f or n) for the comparative and three options (m or f or n) for the superlative, regardless of how many it had for the positive.
  • Stress accents will always appear on the penultimate vowel (for comparatives) or the ultimate vowel (for superlatives) of the stem.

babúrrior, baburríssimus / lévior, levísssimus / fēlícior, fēlīcíssimus / hebétior, hebetíssimus

Of course, it can always shift further forward, but never further back. The comparatives declines like so:

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 7.42.56 AM(photo credit, Wiktionary)

The superlatives decline like a regular first/second declension adjectives, regardless of how their positives decline:

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 7.49.18 AM(photo credit, Wiktionary)

The Essential AG: 120, 123-4

Adjective as Adverbs

Certain adjectives, although modifying the noun within a sentence, in effect modify the verb as well.

  • He was the first to arrive: prīmus vēnit.
  • I in no way doubt: nūlla dubitō.
  • They were glad to hear: laetae audiērunt.
  • He was often at Rome: Rōmae frequēns erat.
  • She arrived late: sēra vēnit.

The Essential AG: 290

Single-Termination Third Declension Adjectives

Here’s a review of triple- and twin-termination adjectives, covered in earlier posts:

  • Triple-termination: ācer, ācris, ācre (sharp)
  • Twin-termination: levis (m/f), leve (light)

Formation of Single-Termination Third Declension Adjectives

These are complicated because they take several possible consonant stems. That said, their declension is more-or-less equivalent to third declension i-stem nouns (nūbes, nūbis or maremaris)

atrōx, actrōcis, fierce

A few things to note:

  • The ablative singular may be either atrōcī or (less often) atrōce
  • The neuter plurals all feature the istem (-ia, -ium, -ibus, etc.)
  • The masculine and feminine plural accusative may (rarely) be atrocīs

Here are a few more nouns to consider:

egēns, egentis: needy

praeceps, praecipitis: headlong

pārparis: equal, alike

ūber, ūberis: fruitful, copious

The Essential AG: 118

Famous Phrase: cēterīs pāribus [all other things being equal]

(an ablative absolute, denoting non-variable components of scientific experiments or other forms of structural reasoning)

Defective Comparatives and Superlatives

Positive-Defective Comparative Adjectives

Summary of Defection

Ordinary adjectives have a positive, comparative and superlative form

The following comparative and superlative forms either (a) have no positive form, (b) have a preposition as their positive form, (c) have an adverb as their positive form or (d) have only very rare positive adjectives

Comparatives With No Positives

  • — / ōcior, -ius / ōcissimus, -a, -um : — / swifter / swiftest
  • — / potior, -ius / potissimus, -, um : — / preferred / most preferred

Comparatives with Adverbial Positives

  • cis, citrā / citerior, -ius / citimus, -a, -um : on this side / hither / histermost
  • prope / proprior, -ius / proximus, -a, um : near / nearer / nearest, next
  • ultrā / ulterior, -ius / ultimus, -a, -um : beyond / farther / farthest

Comparatives with Prepositional Positives

  • dē / dēterior, -ius / dēterrimus, -a, -um : down / worse / worse (n.b. not more down)
  • in, intrā / interior, -ius / intimus, -a, -um : in, within / inner / inmost
  • prae, prō / prior, -ius / prīmus, -a, -um : before / former / first

Comparatives with Rare Positives

  • exterus, -a, -um / exterior, -ius / extrēmus, -a, -um : outward / outer / outmost
  • īnferus, -a, -um / īnferior, -ius / īnfimus (-īmus), -a, -um : below / lower / lowest
  • posterus, -a, -um / posterior, -ius / postrēmus (postumus), -a, -um : following / later / last (last-born)
  • superus, -a, um / superior, -ius / suprēmus (summus), -a, -um : above / higher /highest
Positives in this category, where they appear, are substantives. The īnferī are the gods the underworld, extrēmī are foreigners and Postumus is a common surname.

Essential AG: 130, 130a-b

Famous Phrase: videō meliōra probōque / dēteriōra sequor 

(I see and approve the better, but follow the worse) [Ovid, Metamorphoses, 7.20-1]

positive_defect_comparatives_summary.pdf

-Ra / -Ra Stem Adjectives

Summary of First and Second Declension -ro/-ra Stem Adjectives

Summary of Declension

Adjectives with the stem ro- are of two classes: (i) those preceded by e [viz. ero-] and (ii) those preceded by a consonant [viz. gro-, bro-, fro-, etc.]

All members of both classes are first/second declension adjectives

Adjectives in Class (i) [ e-class ]

  • asper, aspera, asperum : rude, crude, violent
  • dexter, dextera, dexterum: right, favorable
  • gibber, gibbera, gibberum : humpbacked
  • lacer, lacera, lacerum : torn
  • līber, lībera, līberum : free
  • miser, misera, miserum : wretched
  • tener, tenera, tenerum : soft, young, effeminate
  • saetiger, saetigera, saetigerum : bristly (thorn-bearing)
  • (like saetiger, all compounds of -fer and -ger, from ferō and gerō [i.o.] are members of this class)

Adjectives in Class (ii) [ consonant-class ]

  • aeger, aegra, aegrum : sick, sad
  • āter, ātra, ātrum : dark
  • crēber, crēbra, crēbrum : thick, frequent
  • faber, fabra, fabrum : skillful
  • glaber, glabra, glabrum : smooth, hairless
  • integer, integra, integrum : complete, untouched
  • lūdicer, lūdicra, lūdicrum : sportive
  • macer, macra, macrum : lean, thin
  • niger, nigra, nigrum : black
  • noster, nostra, nostrum : our
  • piger, pigra, pigrum : slow, dull, lazy
  • pulcher, pulchra, pulchrum : beautiful, excellent
  • ruber, rubra, rubrum : red
  • sacer, sacra, sacrum : holy
  • sinister, sinistra, sinistrum : left, unfavorable
  • taeter, taetra, taetrum : offensive, shocking
  • vafer, vafra, vafrum : sly, crafty
  • vester, vestra, vestrum : your (pl.)

Exceptional Variants

  • satur, satura, saturum : full, sated

The Essential AG : 111, 112

Famous Phrase : aegri somnia (a sick man’s dreams = trouble sleep)

[Horace, Ars Poetica 7—but presently popular with hipster and counterculture groups]

ro:ra_adjs_summary.pdf

declension_ero.pdf

declension_(cons)ro.pdf