WORD USAGE

     

Most of us consider our lives pretty active, though is it correct khổng lồ use “busier” or “more busy” when comparing ourselves to lớn others? Busy is a relative term because some people may have more to bởi each day than others around them.

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Busier is the correct comparative adjective to lớn use when expressing a degree of difference between two things. We generally showroom -er khổng lồ short, single-syllable words khổng lồ create the comparative form, và because busy is a two-syllable word ending in a -y, we replace it with -ier.

This article will explore comparative forms in general & the rules that govern them in English. We’ll also examine the word “busy” và its comparative form & explain why “busier” is a better choice than “more busy.”

Degrees of Comparison

We use degrees of comparison lớn compare one thing with another. In English, there are three degrees of comparison:

Positive formComparative formSuperlative form

When we use an adjective or adverb to lớn describe just one thing, then we use the positive form. When we compare two things, we use the comparative form, and when comparing three or more things or describing an action performed khổng lồ its highest degree, we use the superlative form.

Below is a table with some examples of these three forms:

PositiveComparativeSuperlative
BusyBusierBusiest
SmallSmallerSmallest
StrongStrongerStrongest
PrettyPrettierPrettiest
TallTallerTallest

Consider the following examples that show how we use the degrees of comparison in sentences.

I am busy. (Positive Form)Jack is busier than Emma. (Comparative Form)Jack is the busiest he has ever been. (Superlative Form)The ball is small. (Positive Form)Jack’s ball is smaller than Emma’s. (Comparative Form)That is the smallest ball I have ever seen (Superlative Form)Jane is pretty. (Positive Form)Sarah is prettier than Jane. (Comparative Form)Katie is the prettiest of the three girls. (Superlative Form)

Spelling Rules

If the word has double vowels or ends in double consonants, then we simply địa chỉ cửa hàng -er & -est.

Examples: weak – weaker – weakest; rich – richer – richest; pink – pinker – pinkest

If the word is a single-syllable và has a short vowel, then we double the last letter and địa chỉ -er in the comparative form & -est in the superlative form.

Examples: hot – hotter – hottest; big – bigger – biggest; fit – fitter – fittest

If the word ends in an “e,” then we showroom -r và -st.

Examples: ripe – riper – ripest; wise – wiser – wisest; close – closer – closest

If the word ends in a “y,” then we replace the “y” with -ier & -iest.

Examples: busy – busier – busiest; lacy – lacier – laciest; nutty – nuttier – nuttiest

If the word is more than two syllables long and doesn’t end in “y,” then we use “more” & “most.” We also use these if the word ends in -ous, -ive, or -ful.

Examples: colorful – more colorful – most colorful; difficult – more difficult – most difficult; talented – more talented – most talented

Notable Exceptions

As with all English grammar và spelling rules, there are some notable exceptions. The most common of these appear in the table below.


PositiveComparativeSuperlative
GoodShe is good at math.BetterJane is better at math than Jeff.BestAnne is the best in the class at math.
BadI am a bad cook.WorseJane is a worse cook than Jeff.WorstAnne is the worst cook in her family.
LittleShe wants a little ice cream.LessJane wants less ice cream than Jeff does.LeastAnne ate the least ice cream of all the children.
ManyShe has many friends.MoreJane has more friends than Jeff.MostAnne has the most friends of all the children.

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Image by Joice Rivas via Pixels

What Is the Comparative khung of Busy?

We use the comparative size either to compare things or lớn show change. Comparative adjectives make comparisons between two nouns, and comparative adverbs describe relative actions or verbs (source).

“Busy” is an adjective, và the comparative form of busy is busier.

When we use it as a comparative adjective, “busier” compares the relation between two nouns — people, places, or things — as in the following examples:

Jack is the busier of the two managers.Maple Mall is busier than Acorn Mall.Traffic is busier on North St. Than Jacob St.

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Uses of Comparative Adjectives

When using comparative adjectives lớn make a direct comparison between two things, we use the word than khổng lồ express this:

Jane is busier than Mark.Ellen is taller than Ross.Jack is kinder than Jennifer.

When describing change, we can repeat the comparative together with “and”:

That intersection has become busier & busier.She never stopped eating và just grew bigger và bigger.He became quieter and quieter as the bullying continued.

When expressing how one thing depends on another, we can use “the” together with comparative adjectives:

The more he gives me to lớn do, the busier I become.The faster you eat, the more likely you will be khổng lồ get hiccups.The more irritating he is, the quicker I react.

What Is the Meaning of Busier?

The root word of “busier” is the adjective “busy,” which we can define as follows (source):

Being occupied with a taskBeing currently in useBeing full of activity, bustlingHaving a lot of intricate detail

Consider the following sentences that illustrate these nuances in meaning:

She was busy doing her homework when he arrived — occupied with a task.The changing stall was busy when I wanted lớn use it — currently in use.That is a very busy part of the park — bustling, full of activity.The fabric kiến thiết was too busy for my simple tastes — intricate detail.

Origins

The word “busy” originated from Old English, where the Anglo-Saxons spelled it bisig & defined it as “anxious” or “careful” (source). We can link its origins khổng lồ the Old Dutch word bezich and the Low German word besig, which came to lớn mean “in constant action” and is consistent with today’s definition.

In the 15th century, the spelling shifted lớn the current form, và the word became more about being meddlesome than anxious. This definition is still retained in the term “busybody” which refers to a meddling, prying person.

The term “busier” first entered the records in the late 1700s. It steadily gained popularity over the next century, và its recorded usage since then has been fairly consistent (source).

Busier vs. More Busy

As discussed above, “busier” is the correct comparative khung of “busy.” Mostly, we only use “more” for comparative adjectives when words are more than two syllables long and don’t kết thúc in “y.” There are always exceptions to this rule, and, as with all English exceptions, you’ll simply have to lớn learn these.

Is “More Busy” Correct?

Almost always, the correct term is “busier.” However, there are also some specific examples where one might use “more busy” rather than “busier.” Consider the following examples, where “more busy” is the right choice rather than “busier.”

I have never been more busy in my life.I continued to paint after my illness, but I was more busy than productive.He is as busy as his brother — not less busy, and not more busy, but about the same.

In the first example, you could use “busier,” but using “more busy” places ức chế on the “more” element of the meaning and is better served by using “more busy.”

The second sentence needs to lớn use “more” because that is the comparative form of “productive,” and the sentence would sound awkward if it read “…busier more than more productive.”

The final sentence qualifies the meaning of “as busy” and, again, although we could use “busier” in its place, the sentence makes its point best with “more busy.”

Other words that can be confusing when choosing whether to use “more” in the comparative khung include “healthy” và “clear.” Click on the liên kết to read more about these.

Is Busier the Correct Word?

The term “busier” is the correct word as it appropriately compares two objects, people, or places to one another. For example, we can contrast two people to lớn see who has the most to vị in a week. We can compare two patterns khổng lồ see which has the more elaborate design, or we could evaluate two restaurants và discover which receives more trade.

Alternatives to lớn Busier

Because these contexts all have slightly different meanings, we can use several alternatives in place of “busier.” Consider the following sentences & the alternatives offered.

You should rather ask Simon for help because Jeff is busier than him.You should rather ask Simon for help because Jeff is more occupied than him.

Here, “busier” refers to lớn being engaged in a task. In this context, we could also substitute it with “more involved” or “harder at work.”

That cubicle is busier than this one.That cubicle is more used than this one.

Here, “busier” refers lớn being in use. In this context, we could also substitute it with “more popular.”

That intersection is always busier than this one.That intersection is always more frantic than this one.

Here “busier” refers khổng lồ being full of activity. In this context, we could also substitute it with “more bustling,” “more congested,” or “more hectic.”

The pattern on this paisley scarf is much busier than that one.

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The pattern on this paisley scarf is much more intricate than that one.

Here “busier” means having lots of intricate detail. In this context, we could also substitute it with “more ornate” or “more embellished.”