Comparison of Adverbs: Irregular and Defective

Here are some irregular adverbs that defy the rules set up in this post.

  • diū, diūtius, diūtissimē, for a long time, for a longer time, for the longest time
  • potius, —— potissimum, rather, first of all
  • saepe, saepius,saepissimē, often, more often/again, most often
  • satis, satius, —— enough, preferable
  • secus, sētius, —— otherwise, worse
  • multum (or multō), magis (or mage), maximē, much, more, most
  • parum, minus, minimē, not enough, less, least
  • nūper, ——, nūperrimē, newly, most newly
  • temperē, temperius, —— seasonably, more seasonably

Most of these are either disconnected from their corresponding adjectives (semantically), or are defective in either comparative or superlative form. However, the real outlier here is the multum/ō, magis/e, maximē set, which is an aggregate of various options. Multō is of course the ablative singular neuter for the positive adjective, and mage the neuter accusative of the comparative adjective.

Magis and maximē may also be paired with other adjectives to create their comparatives, especially in adjectives ending in -eus or -ius (in the positive.)

  • idōneus, magis idōneus, maximē idōneus, fit, more fit, most fit

The Essential AG: 128, 218a

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