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Can I be a less old man?

I’ve learned that a simple way to form comparative adjectives is to put більш or менш before the adjective to mean more or less.

When translated literally, менш цікавий (less interesting) or менш ввічливий (less polite) sounds natural in English, however менш довгий (less long) or менш великий (less big) sound not quite right.

Is the same true in Ukrainian, or can менш and більш be used pretty much universally and sound correct?

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You are absolutely right.

Ukrainian adjectives have two degrees of comparison: comparative and superlative. Every degree has as well two forms: simple and hard.

First of all I would like to note that for beginners or even more advanced Ukrainian speakers the "simple" form is actually more difficult to understand and learn than the "hard" form. So feel free to use the easiest form because they both are interchangeable, though we prefer to use "hard" form with more abstract or relative adjectives. Hard form is created by adding words більш (more), менш (less) to the adjectives:

цікавий (interesting) — більш цікавий (more interesting), менш цікавий (less interesting)

розвинений (advanced) — більш розвинений (more advanced), менш розвинений (less advanced)

The adjective does not change at all, all you need is to add a specific word to it.

Pay attention that unlike English where words "more" or "less" are used with adjectives with more than three syllables, Ukrainian "більш", "менш" are used with any adjectives no matter how many syllables they have.

As you can see this form of making comparative adjective is much simplier than the previous one.

ukrainiangrammar.com

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