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The comparative adjective is distinguished from the positive degree of the adjective by the addition of a word or morpheme, as in the following examples:

Positive degree: tûk smart Comparative degree: tûker smarter. (see formation)

The comparative is normally used to express a higher degree (majorative), as in tûker smarter. However, it is also possible to express the opposite relation, that is a lower degree (minorative), as in the following examples:

  • Positive degree: tûk smart
  • Majorative comparative degree: tûker smarter
  • Minorative comparative degree: minder tûk less smart
A comparative construction usually contains a comparative complement which provides the standard for comparison. In the following example, the comparative complement has been bracketed:

Example 1

Rintsje is tûker [as Ids]
Rintsje is smarter than Ids
Rintsje is smarter than Ids

Adjectives may have an Adposition Phrase (PP) argument, as in the following example (see position subcategorized PP):

Example 2

Rintsje is bekend mei dat feit
Rintsje is familiar with that fact
Rintsje is familiar with that fact

It turns out that subcategorised PP arguments to adjectives in the comparative have a more constrained word order than PP arguments to the same adjectives in the positive degree. Negation and semantically related words may provide a structural environment in which negative polarity items occur. It turns out that negative polarity items may also occur in the comparative complement of a comparative construction.

If a Noun Phrase (NP) is preposed that contains a comparative adjective attributed of the noun, then the result may be a construction in which the comparative adjective fails to exhibit agreement and in which the indefinite determiner is absent.

Two comparative adjectives may form a correlative construction. In case each comparative adjective heads a clause, both clauses may have Verb-Final order, so that the sentence as a whole lacks verb-second.

Comparative adjectives may occur in the partitive construction.

Comparative adjectives may have their own modifiers, which are not always allowed in the positive degree.