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The Comparative:
Great, Greater, Greatest Give Clarity

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. (Psalm 95:3, NLT)

A Word For Writers

“The first square is bigger than the second square.” Bigger is a comparative – a writing device used to compare and contrast two items.

By using comparatives like big, bigger, and biggest in your content, you help readers draw on pattern recognition skills they learned in childhood – specifically, seriation. Seriation is the ability to arrange items in logical order according to quantity, such as weight or size or age.

Humans find it easier to visualize quantified objects over abstract principles. That’s where comparatives are especially helpful.  When you create a comparison for readers, you help their brains classify an idea. It’s now in relationship to another idea as a point of reference.

The Bible is filled with comparatives:

  • Great: “For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods” (Psalm 95:3, NLT). David compared God and other gods’ kingly leadership.
  • Greater: “I know now that the Lord is greater than all other gods, because he rescued his people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians” (Exodus 18:11, NLT). Jethro compared God and other gods’ saving ability in the face of a powerful enemy.
  • Greatest: “Your God is the greatest of gods” (Daniel 2:47, NLT). King Nebuchadnezzar compared God and other gods’ ability to reveal truth when Daniel interpreted dreams.

Comparatives in scripture give us more clarity about God’s power and character. Your comparatives can help give your readers clarity about intangible concepts, too.

A Wise Word

Comparatives provide clarity about abstract truths.

A Word To Pray

Heavenly Father,

In Your Word, You use the concrete and tangible to help me understand You better. Show me how to write more clearly. Show me where to use comparatives to quantify a point for my readers.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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