"Wronger" and "wrongest" Vs. "more wrong" or "most wrong"


According to what I learnt, there are short and long adjectives.

Short adjectives: one syllable.

Long adjectives: two / three / four syllables.

All of those short adjectives (one syllable) get suffix of -er or -est in their comparative or superlative grades - correspondingly. (For example: fast, high, low, etc.)

Now my question regarding that are:

1) why is the adjective "wrong" which is one syllable doesn't get -er or -est?

Wiktionary says:

The single-word comparative and superlative forms wronger and wrongest are no longer in common use, except humorously; rather, the locutions “more wrong” and “most wrong” are preferred.

2) Are there more examples for one syllable words which behave like the word "wrong"?

In the Cambridge grammar book that I use, they show examples for exceptions for two syllables that can get -er or -est (for example: quieter), but I didn't see that they mention any exception for one syllable rule (that should get -er or -est in the end in the comparative and superlative grades).

Judicious Allure

Posted 2018-04-23T15:15:25.743

Reputation: 24 598

1Can you cite a source for this? I've not run into this delineation between adjectives and when to use which type of superlative. Some words are simply irregular... bad>worse>worst, for example. – Catija – 2018-04-23T16:31:08.237

Source for the relation between the syllables and the suffix? See here for example: "Cambridge grammar and vocabulary for first" (Cambridge official preparation book). p.55 http://www.cambridge.org/it/cambridgeenglish/catalog/cambridge-english-exams-ielts/grammar-and-vocabulary-first-and-first-schools (if you don't have this book, you can find it here for example: http://www.alleng.ru/d/engl_en/eng126.htm) and see also here. https://www.slideshare.net/zizou27300/comparative-and-superlative-of-adjectives.

– Judicious Allure – 2018-04-23T22:04:58.770

You can find it in a lot of places of learning English. I attached some of examples that I found by simple googling: http://slideplayer.com/slide/3413907/12/images/11/COMPARATIVE+AND+SUPERLATIVE+FORMS.jpg and here https://somoslxsdecuarto.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/comparatives2.jpg and here: http://images.slideplayer.com/32/10042657/slides/slide_5.jpg and many many sites.

– Judicious Allure – 2018-04-23T22:11:42.813



Many short (single syllable) adjectives have comparatives and superlatives that follow an -er -est pattern. Not all do.

"Fun" doesn't produce "funner". There doesn't seem to be a reason for this. You can say "more fun" and "the most fun"

"Fore" has as superlative "foremost" and no real comparative. It developed from splitting the prefix "fore" from words like "forebode", "forward", "forecast".

"Back" used to have a comparative "backer", it was dropped by 1500, instead say "further back".

Both "wrong" and "right" are rarely used as "wronger" or "righter".

I don't see a pattern here, so you will need to pick up experience of which adjectives do have a "-er" and "-est" form.

James K

Posted 2018-04-23T15:15:25.743

Reputation: 80 781

Thank you for the answer. How do you use comparative and superlative adjective for those short adjective that you mentioned? (back, fore or others?) Do use in more and most? (more back, most back) – Judicious Allure – 2018-04-24T00:47:11.933

You can usually use more/most, I've noted some variations already (eg not more back, but further back) – James K – 2018-04-24T19:23:30.210


I do not know of a rule regarding this, but we tend to shy away from double-R words like wronger, righter, and raucouser. Even a legitimate word like "rearward" will be expressed "behind" or "in the back of" rather than try to voice the double-R. At least for Americans, double-Rs are uncomfortable to voice.


Posted 2018-04-23T15:15:25.743

Reputation: 2 550

1Is worst the superlative of wrong? Generally "worst" is considered as a superlative of "bad". They appear to be cognate at the PIE level (from *wers-) but have independent meaning in Old English (wrong and wyrst) – James K – 2018-04-23T17:32:44.507

@JamesK, I'm willing to defer to your expertise, but I find it hard to believe any common speaker would disagree with me. Catija even uses it in this context in her comment, above. "That's the wrong way to do it" doesn't imply that the solution is the worst way to do it. "That's the worst way to do it" does. I've not heard anyone say "most wrong" in my life. However, in favor of your comment, "the worst way to do it" need not imply that the way is wrong, only that it's not as productive or efficient as another way. I suspect we could start a vigorous discussion among many with this... – JBH – 2018-04-23T17:41:22.783

@JamesK, because a supervisor would use the phrase in the context of "wrong according to estabilshed procedures." – JBH – 2018-04-23T17:42:43.837

1Catija claims that worst is the irregular superlative of bad. She writes "Bad > worse >worst". I agree with Catija. You are claiming "wrong> more wrong > worst". I disagree with this. I claim that "worst is not a superlative form of wrong." – James K – 2018-04-23T18:32:27.833