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ESL forum > Ask for help > Help with a word formation    

Help with a word formation



ascincoquinas
Portugal

Help with a word formation
 
Dear members,
 
I was taught that the adjective HANDSOME would form the comparative using MORE.
 
However, I came across with the following sentence:
 
"she had become fearfully pale and, strange to say, was even handsomer for it."
 
Now my question is: Is this correct or is an old form of English?
 
Thanks

22 Dec 2012      



cunliffe
United Kingdom

No, it isn īt old English. īHandsomer ī is quite usual.  

22 Dec 2012     



ascincoquinas
Portugal

Dear Cunlife,

Both Cambridge and Logman dictionaries say that its use dates back to Dickens ī time or even prior to that .... Ermm

1350–1400; Middle English handsom easy to handle

22 Dec 2012     



Apodo
Australia

...and where Cunliffe comes from they still use it and have done so for hundreds of years. It īs just another variation in regional English usage.
 
BTW - Where I come from we say more handsome.
 

22 Dec 2012     



ascincoquinas
Portugal

Thanks to both of you Apodo and Cunlife Thumbs Up

22 Dec 2012     



MoodyMoody
United States

For a third opinion, we īd use "more handsome" more frequently, but "handsomer" doesn īt sound bad to me as an American.

22 Dec 2012     



Sonn
Russian Federation

As far as I remember the rules, the words ending in -some should form the comparatives by adding -er or -est. (upd. Kobrina N.A., p. 233. Handsome is the only example in the book, there arenīt any other examples for the words ending in -some, but adding -er to the words ending in -some is described there as a general rule)

But I īve also heard the variant "more handsome" from native speakers.

UPD.
Here is another example with lonesome
http://onlinedictionary.datasegment.com/word/lonesomer

Nevertheless, "troublesome" should be "more troublesome". I donīt knw why.
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/troublesome

According to wiktionary, for handsome both variants are possible
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/handsome

UPD. 2
Here is a list with adjectives ending in -some. You can use google, wiktionary, onlinedictionary and other sources to check which way is more common with such adjectives.
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_some_adjectives_ending_in_some

22 Dec 2012     



yanogator
United States

@Sonn,
It īs "more troublesome" because it has three syllables.
 
Bruce

23 Dec 2012     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

Hi ascinoquinas, what I meant was that it isn īt old English as in obsolete. It may well date back centuries, but it īs still around.
Edit: I would always say īMy husband is handsomer than yours.ī 

23 Dec 2012     



ascincoquinas
Portugal

Hi Cunlife!


Thanks so much for your help.

Merry Christmas and a Happy new year.

23 Dec 2012