Incomparable Words - AMA Manual of Style

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Incomparable Words 

Correct and Preferred Usage

Roxanne K. Young

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PRINTED FROM AMA MANUAL OF STYLE ONLINE ( © American Medical Association, 2009. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the license agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in AMA Manual of Style Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy). date: 25 November 2015

An adjective denoting an absolute or extreme state or quality does not logically admit of quantification or comparison. Thus, we do not, or should not, say deadest, more perfect, or somewhat unique. It is generally acceptable, however, to modify adjectives of this kind with adverbs such as almost, apparently, fortunately, nearly, probably, and regrettably. Listed below are words that should not be used with a comparative (more, less), superlative (most, least), or quantifying (quite, slightly, very) modifier. Note: In general, superlatives should be avoided in scientific writing.

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