Latin for beginners (1911)/Part II/Lesson LIII

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300. The quality denoted by an adjective may exist in either a higher or a lower degree, and this is expressed by a form of inflection called comparison. The mere presence of the quality is expressed by the positive degree, its presence in a higher or lower degree by the comparative, and in the highest or lowest of all by the superlative. In English the usual way of comparing an adjective is by using the suffix -er for the comparative and -est for the superlative; as, positive high, comparative higher, superlative highest. Less frequently we use the adverbs more and most; as, positive beautiful, comparative more beautiful, superlative most beautiful.

I.Latin, as in English, adjectives are compared by adding suffixes or by using adverbs.

301. Adjectives are compared by using suffixes as follows:

Positive Comparative Superlative

clārus, -a, -um (bright)
(Base clār-)

clārior, clārīus (brighter)

clārissimus, -a, -um (brightest)

brevis, breve (short)
(Base brev-)

brevior, brevius (shorter)

brevissimus, -a, -um (shortest)

vēlōx (swift)
(Base veloc-)

vēlōcior, vēlōcius (swifter)

vēlōcissimus, -a, -um (swiftest)

a. The comparative is formed from the base of the positive by adding -ior masc. and fem., and -ius neut.; the superlative by adding -issimus, -issima, -issimum.

302. Less frequently adjectives are compared by using the adverbs magis, more; maximē, most; as, idōneus, suitable; magis idōneus, more suitable; maximē idōneus, most suitable.

303. Declension of the Comparative. Adjectives of the comparative degree are declined as follows:

Singular Plural
Nom.. clārior clārīus clārīōrēs clāriōra
Gen. clāriōris clāriōris clāriōrum clāriōrum
Dat. clāriōrī clāriōrī clāriōribus clāriōribus
Acc. clāriōrem clārius clāriōrēs clāriōra
Abl. clāriōre clāriōre clāriōribus clāriōribus

a. Observe that the endings are those of the consonant stems of the third declension.

b. Compare longus, long; fortis, brave; recēns (base, recent-), recent; and decline the comparative of each.

304. Adjectives in -er form the comparative regularly, but the superlative is formed by adding -rimus, -a, -um to the nominative masculine of the positive; as,

Positive Comparative Superlative

ācer, ācris, ācre
(Base acr-)

ācrior, ācrius ācerrimus, -a, -um

pulcher, pulchra, pulchrum
(Base pulchr-)

pulchrior, pulchrius pulcherrimus, -a, -um

līber, lībera, līberum
(Base līber-)

līberior, līberius līberrimus, -a, -um

a. In a similar manner compare miser, aeger, crēber.

305. The comparative is often translated by quite, too, or somewhat, and the superlative by very; as, altior, quite (too, somewhat) high; altissimus, very high.



First learn the special vocabulary, p. 296.


  1. Quid explōrātōrēs quaerēbant? Explōrātōrēs tempus opportfūissimum itinerī quaerēbant.
  2. Mediā in silvā ignīs quam crēberrimōs fēcimus, quod ferās tam audācis numquam anteā vīderāmus.
  3. Antīquīs temporibus Germānī erant fortiōrēs quam Gallī.
  4. Caesar erat clārior quam inimīcī[1] quī eum necāvērunt.
  5. Quisque scūtum ingēns et pīlum longius gerēbat.
  6. Apud barbarōs Germānī erant audācissimī et fortissimī.
  7. Mēns hominum est celerior quam corpus.
  8. Virī aliquārum terrārum sunt miserrimī.
  9. Corpora Germānōrum erant ingentiōra quam Rōmānōrum.
  10. Ācerrimī Gallōrum prīncipēs sine ūllā morā trāns flūmen quoddam equōs vēlōcissimōs trādūxērunt.
  11. Aestāte diēs sunt longiōrēs quam hieme.
  12. Imperātor quīdam ab explōrātōribus dē recentī adventū nāvium longārum quaesīvit.


  1. Of all birds the eagle is the swiftest.
  2. Certain animals are swifter than the swiftest horse.
  3. The Roman name was most hateful to the enemies of the commonwealth.
  4. The Romans always inflicted the severest[2] punishment on faithless allies.
  5. I was quite ill, and so I hastened from the city to the country.
  6. Marcus had some friends dearer than Cæsar.[3]
  7. Did you not seek a more recent report concerning the battle?
  8. Not even after a victory so opportune did he seek the general’s friendship.

N.B. Beginning at this point, the selections for reading will be found near the end of the volume. (See p. 197.)



  1. Why is this word used instead of hostēs?
  2. Use the superlative of gravis.
  3. Accusative. In a comparison the noun after quam is in the same case as the one before it.