AN ANLYSIS THE STUDENTS MASTERY OF DEGREES OF COMPARISON

AN ANALYSIS ON THE STUDENTS’ MASTERY OF
DEGREES OF COMPARISON
(A Case Study at Second Grade Students (VIII.10) of SMPN 3 Tangerang Selatan)

A “Skripsi”
Presented to the Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teachers Training
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of S.Pd. (S-1) in English Language Education

By
METHANIA ARIS SHUSANTIE
106014000401

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH EDUCATION
FACULTY OF TARBIYAH AND TEACHERS TRAINING
SYARIF HIDAYATULLAH STATE ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY
JAKARTA
2011

AN ANALYSIS ON THE STUDENTS’ MASTERY
OF DEGREES OF COMPARISON
(A Case Study at Second Grade Students (VIII.10) of SMPN 3 Tangerang Selatan)

A “Skripsi”
Presented to the Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teachers Training
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of S.Pd. (S.1) in English Language Education

By
Methania Aris Shusantie
106014000401

Approved by
Advisor,

Dr. H. Atiq Susilo, MA
NIP. 194911221978031001

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH EDUCATION
FACULTY OF TARBIYAH AND TEACHERS TRAINING
SYARIF HIDAYATULLAH STATE ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY
JAKARTA
2011

ENDORSEMENT SHEET
The Examination Committee of the Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teachers’ Training
certifies that the ‘skripsi’ (scientific paper) entitled “An Analysis on the
Students’ Mastery of Degrees of Comparison (A Case Study at Second Grade
Students (VIII.10) of SMPN 3 Tangerang Selatan)”, written by Methania Aris
Shusantie, students registration number 106014000401, was examined by the
committee on August 23rd, 2011 and was declared to have passed and have
fulfilled one of the requirements for the degree of S.Pd. in English Education
Department.
Jakarta, August 23rd, 2011
EXAMINATION COMMITTEE:
CHAIRMAN : Drs. Syauki, M.Pd.
NIP. 19641212 199103 1 002

(

)

SECRETARY : Neneng Sunengsih, S.Pd.
NIP. 19730625 199903 2001

(

)

Drs. Nasrun Mahmud, M.Pd.
NIP. 150 041 070

(

)

Dr. Alek, M.Pd.
NIP. 196909122009011008

(

)

EXAMINERS:

Acknowledged by
Dean of Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teachers’ Training

Prof. Dr. Dede Rosyada, M.A.
NIP. 19571005 1987031 003

ABSTRACT
Methania Aris Shusantie. 2011, An Analysis on the Students’ Mastery of
Degrees of Comparison. (A Case study at the Second Grade (VIII.10) of
SMPN 3 Tangerang Selatan), Skripsi, English Education Department,
Faculty of Tarbiyah Teachers’ Training, UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta.
Advisor: Dr. H. Atiq Susilo, M.A.
Grammar is one of sub-skills which has to be mastered by the students. It
keeps an important role in acquiring the four language skills. Grammar has a lot
of language elements; one of them is degrees of comparison. Comparison is the
most important English construction which is used to express similarities or
differences of degree or extent. Comparison is the process of comparing people,
things, or places through the level of quality, quantity, or relation. It is formed
from adjective and adverb. But this study is only focused on comparison of
adjective.
This study is aimed to get a clear information about the students’ mastery
of degrees of comparison at the second grade students (class VIII. 10) of SMPN 3
Tangerang Selatan. The class consists of 38 students.
Furthermore, there were two techniques of data collecting applied in this
study; they are test and interview. According to the test result, it is obtained that
there are 16.66 % students who had mastery in the items of comparative form,
33.77 % students who had mastery in the items of the superlative form and 42.105
% students who had mastery in the items of distinguishing usage of both
comparative and superlative degree.
Based on the results of the case study conducted at the second grade of
SMP N 3 Tangerang Selatan (class VIII. 10) academic year 2010/2011, the writer
concluded that there are 5 reasons that students find difficulties in mastering
degrees of comparison: they are confused to put suffix –er for comparative and –
st /-est for superlative or prefix more for comparative and most for superlative,
they forgot to add the article the in the superlative form and confused to omit or
misplaced the use of be, they forgot to add than after adjective for comparative
form, they do not know how to change the word that is ended in –y to –i and add –
er/ -est, and some students confused to differentiate the usage of comparative or
superlative degree.

i

ABSTRAK
Methania Aris Shusantie. 2011, An Analysis on the Students’ Mastery of
Degrees of Comparison. (A Case study at the Second Grade (VIII.10)of
SMPN 3 Tangerang Selatan), Skripsi, Jurusan Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris,
Fakultas Ilmu Tarbiyah dan Keguruan, UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta.
Pembimbing: Dr. H. Atiq Susilo, M.A.
Grammar adalah salah satu dari sub-skill yang hendaknya di kuasai oleh
siswa. Grammar mempunyai peran penting dalam mempelajari 4 skill berbahasa
Inggris. Grammar memiliki banyak unsur kebahasaan; salah satunya adalah
degree of comparison atau tingkat perbandingan. Comparison adalah pembentuk
bahasa Inggris yang paling penting yang mana penggunaannya untuk
mengungkapkan tingkat persamaan- persamaan atau perbedaan- perbedaan.
Comparison adalah proses membandingkan sesuatu, orang, ataupun tempat
melalui tingkat kualitas, kuantitas dan hubungan. Comparison terbentuk dari kata
sifat dan kata keterangan. Namun dalam studi kasus ini hanya fokus pada
perbandingan kata sifat.
Studi ini dimaksudkan untuk mendapatkan informasi yang jelas tentang
tingkat penguasaan degrees of comparison oleh siswa- siswi kelas VIII.10 SMP N
3 Tangerang Selatan.
Selanjutnya, ada dua teknik pengumpulan data yang terdapat dalam studi
ini, diantaranya: test dan wawancara. Berdasarkan hasil test, diperoleh bahwa ada
16.66 % siswa yang menguasai soal A (comparative form), 33.77 % siswa yang
menguasai soal B (superlative form) dan 42.105 % siswa yang menguasai soal C
(the usage of both comparative and superlative degree).
Berdasarkan hasil studi kasus yg dilaksanakan di SMP N 3 Tangerang
Selatan (khususnya kelas VIII.10) tahun akademik 2010/2011, penulis
menyimpulkan bahwa ada lima alasan mengapa siswa menemukan kesulitan
dalam menguasai degrees of comparison, diantaranya: mereka bingung
meletakkan suffix –er untuk comparative and –st /-est untuk superlative atau
prefix more untuk comparative dan most untuk superlative, mereka lupa
menambahkan artikel the pada bentuk superlative dan bingung menyertakan atau
menghilangkan penggunaan be, mereka juga lupa untuk menambahkan kata than
setelah kata sifat untuk bentuk comparative, sebagian dari mereka tidak tahu
bagaimana merubah kata yang berakhiran –y ke –i dan menambah –er/ -est, dan
sebagian siswa bingung bagaimana membedakan penggunaan dari comparative
ataupun superlative.

ii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

In the name of Allah, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful. All
praises be to Allah the lord of the world, who gives the writer guidance and
strength, so she could finish this scientific paper (skripsi). Peace and blessing
always due to our prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the last messenger of
Allah, and to all his families, companions, and followers.
This skripsi is presented to the English Education Department of Tarbiya
and Teachers Training Faculty of State Islamic University of Syarif Hidayatullah,
Jakarta as a partial fulfillment of the requirements for strata 1 (S.1). This research
could not be completed without a great deal of help from many people, especially
Dr. H. Atiq Susilo, M.A., the writer’s advisor who has patiently given valuable
advice and guidance to finish this research paper. Her special thanks go to her
parents, Mrs. Nina Santina and Mr. Supartono who always give their love, prayer,
motivation, and supports in finishing her study. They have inspired the writer in
her life, especially in finishing this skripsi.
The writer realizes that this skripsi could not be finished without support
and help from some people around her. Therefore, she would like to express her
great honor to the following people, particularly to:
1. Drs. Syauki, M.Pd. and Mrs. Neneng Sunengsih, S.Pd. as the Head and
secretary of English Education Department of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah
Jakarta.
2. All inspiring lecturers of English Education Department for their
encouragement to the writer during her study at UIN Syarif Hidayatullah
Jakarta.
3. Prof. Dr. H. Dede Rosyada, M.A., the Dean of Faculty of Tarbiya and
Teachers Training.
4. The Headmaster and English teacher of SMPN 3 Tangerang Selatan.

iii

5. Mbah Putri (her grandmother from Cilacap), grandfather and grandmother
from Tasikmalaya for their prayer, encouragement, support, and patience in
motivating the writer to finish her study.
6. The family of Mr. Rasmadi and Mrs. Hera Saerah who have given the
facilities and support the writer to finish her study. Also, sister Dewi, brother
Fajar, sister Fitri, and brother Adi.
7. Her friends in Department of English Education academic year 2006
especially B class.
The writer realizes that this paper is far from being perfect. Therefore, the
writer expects some criticism and suggestions for this paper. At last, the writer
hopes that this paper will be useful for all.

Jakarta, August 2011

The writer

iv

TABLE OF CONTENT
Abstract ............................................................................................................. i
Acknowledgement .......................................................................................... iii
Table of Content ............................................................................................... v
List of Tables ................................................................................................... vii
List of Appendices .......................................................................................... viii

CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION
A. The Background of the Study ................................................................ 1
B. The Limitation and Formulation of the Problem .................................... 4
C. The Method of the Study ........................................................................ 5
D. The Objective of the Study .................................................................... 5
E. The Significant of the Study ................................................................... 5

CHAPTER II: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
A. The Degrees of Comparison of Adjective ............................................... 6
1. Adjective .......................................................................................... 6
2. Degrees of Comparison .................................................................... 7
a. Definition of Degrees of Comparison .......................................... 7
b. Kinds and the Usage of Degrees of Comparison ........................... 9
c. The Form of Adjective Comparison ............................................ 10

CHAPTER III: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
A. The Purpose of the Study ..................................................................... 18
B. Place and Time of the Study ............................................................... 18
C. Research Method ................................................................................. 18
D. The Subject of the Study ..................................................................... 19
E. The Techniques of Data Collecting ..................................................... 19
F. The Techniques of Data Analysis ........................................................ 20

v

CHAPTER IV: DATA DESCRIPTION, DATA ANAYSIS AND
INTERPRETATION
A. Data Description ................................................................................... 21
B. Data Analysis ........................................................................................ 24
C. Interpretation ........................................................................................ 32

CHAPTER V: CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTION
A. Conclusion ........................................................................................... 33
B. Suggestion ............................................................................................ 34

BIBLIOGRAPHY .......................................................................................... 35
APPENDICES ................................................................................................. 37

vi

LIST OF TABLES

Table 2.1 Form of Positive Comparison .............................................

11

Table 2.2 Comparative Form (Pattern I) .............................................

12

Table 2.3 Comparative Form (Pattern II) .............................................

13

Table 2.4 Superlative Form (Pattern I) .................................................

14

Table 2.5 Superlative Form (Pattern II) ...............................................

15

Table 2.6 Less and Least .....................................................................

16

Table 2.7 Irregular Form of Comparison .............................................

16

Table 2.8 Adjective with two syllables both comparative and Superlative
that formed by adding prefix more/ most and suffix –er/-est

17

Table 4.1 The Students’ Score of Test Result ......................................

22

Table 4.2 General Frequency of Students’ Mastery in Comparative Form

24

Table 4.3 Specific Frequency of Students’ Mastery in Comparative Form

25

Table 4.4 General Frequency of Students’ Mastery in Superlative Form

26

Table 4.5 Specific Frequency of Students’ Mastery in Superlative Form

27

Table 4.6 General Frequency of Students’ Mastery in the Usage of Degrees
of Comparison (Comparative and Superlative) ...................

28

Table 4.7 Specific Frequency of Students’ Mastery in the Usage of both
Comparative and Superlative Degree ...................................

29

Table 4.8 Type and Percentage of Students’ Mastery in Learning Degrees
of Comparison .....................................................................

vii

30

LIST OF APPENDICES

Appendix 1: Form of Test ............................................................................... 37
Appendix 2: Answers Key .............................................................................. 39
Appendix 3: The Real Student’s Answer Sheet of Test ................................. 40
Appendix 4: Surat Pengajuan Judul Skripsi.................................................... 41
Appendix 5: Surat Bimbingan Skripsi ............................................................ 42
Appendix 6: Surat Perubahan Judul Skripsi ................................................... 43
Appendix 7: Surat Perubahan Judul Skripsi Setelah Sidang Munaqosah ....... 44
Appendix 8: Surat Izin Penelitian .................................................................. 45
Appendix 9: Surat Keterangan telah Melaksanakan Penelitian ....................... 46

viii

DEPARTEMEN AGAMA
UNIVERSITAS ISLAM NEGERI (UIN)
SYARIF HIDAYATULLAH JAKARTA
FAKULTAS ILMU TARBIYAH DAN KEGURUAN
Jl. Ir. H. Juanda No.95

Telp: (62-21) 7443328, 7401925

Ciputat 15142 Jakarta

Email: Uinjkt@Cabi.net.id

SURAT PERNYATAAN KARYA SENDIRI
Saya yang bertanda tangan dibawah ini,
Nama

: Methania Aris Shusantie

Tempat/Tanggal lahir : Jakarta, 15 Januari 1989
NIM

: 106014000401

Program Studi

: Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris

Judul Skripsi

: An Analysis on Students’ Mastery of Degrees
of Comparison (A Case Study at Second Grade Students
(VIII.10) of SMPN 3 Tangerang Selatan)

Dosen Pembimbing

: Dr. H. Atiq Susilo, MA

menyatakan bahwa skripsi ini benar-benar hasil karya saya sendiri dan saya
bertanggung jawab secara akademis atas apa yang saya tulis.

Pernyataan ini dibuat sebagai salah satu syarat menempuh Ujian Munaqasah.

Jakarta, 01 Agustus 2011
Mahasiswa Ybs,

Methania Aris Shusantie
NIM. 106014000401

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION

A. The Background of The Study
The government of Indonesia has considered English language as the first
foreign language and becomes compulsory foreign language subject is taught in
schools. This obligation is based on the government regulation that mention
“Bahasa Inggris telah menjadi bahasa asing pertama yang wajib diajarkan, dengan
tujuan untuk mengembangkan ilmu pengetahuan, teknologi, dan kebudayaan serta
pembinaan hubungan dengan bangsa- bangsa lain” (English became the first
foreign language that is obligatory to be learned, the purpose is to develop
science, technology, and culture; moreover the language is used as a way of the
constructing the relationship with other nations).1 Foreign language especially
English is an international language that is very important for global
communication (bahasa asing terutama Bahasa Inggris merupakan bahasa
internasional yang sangat penting kegunaannya dalam pergaulan global).2
English as a foreign language in Indonesia is taught from elementary
school or even kindergarten up to the university level. It is learned as a local
content subject in primary school, as a core subject at Junior and Senior High
Schools, and also as a complementary compulsory subject at university. The goal
of English teaching is not only to enable the students to understand the language,
but also to enable them to use the language in oral and written activities as well.
There are two aspects that must be mastered by the students in learning
English. First, language performances, or usually called as language skills, they
include listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Second, language competence, it
is underlying knowledge of the system of language; involves its rules of grammar,

1

Undang-undang Nomor 20 tentang Sistem Pendidikan Nasional, (Jakarta: Tamita
Utama, 2004), p. v.
2
Undang- undang dan Peraturan Pemerintah RI tentang Pendidikan, (Jakarta: Direktorat
Jenderal Pendidikan Islam Departemen Agama RI, 2006), p. 66.

1

vocabulary, pronunciation, etcetera. All those skills are important in mastering
English.
The main aim of English teaching in Indonesia, especially for Junior High
School, is students have to master the four language skills. To master those skills,
students can not avoid studying grammar. They need to have a capability of
grammar. Grammar is necessary even in communication because it can avoid
misunderstanding. With grammar, the students can communicate their message
clearly and precisely.
Based on the writer’s opinion, grammar is an essential part which is learnt
as the basic knowledge and important role in understanding the English language.
Penny Ur states that “Grammar is sometimes defined as the way words are put
together to make correct sentences.”3 It does not only affect how the units of
words are combined in order to make correct sentences but also affects their
meaning.
Grammar consists of form and rules, as Dianne Larsen- Freeman states
that: “Grammar is about form and one way to teach form is to give students rules;
however, grammar is about much more than form, and its teaching is ill served if
students are simply given rules.”4
It can be inferred from the statements above that without mastering
grammar, the students can not write, read, speak, and listen well. Grammar has an
important role in learning English. Therefore, it is very important for students to
master grammatical rules. As a mentioned by Penny Ur in his book, Grammar
Practice Activities: A Practical Guide for Teachers that “a learner who „knows
grammar’ is one who has mastered and can apply the rules to express him or
herself in what would be considered acceptable language forms.”5

3

Penny Ur, A Cours in Language Teaching Practice and Theory, (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 75.
4
Dianne Larsen- Freeman (Marriane Celce- Murcia, editor), Teaching Grammar in
Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language, (USA: Heinle & Heinle, 2001), third edition,
p. 251.
5
Penny Ur, Grammar Practice Activities. A Practical Guide for Teachers, (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1988), p. 4.

2

Therefore, the knowledge of grammar is very important to express what we would
to say and interpret correctly, accurately and meaningfully.
Actually, there are many aspects which are discussed in English grammar;
one of them is degrees of comparison. In this skripsi, the writer will not discuss
grammar in general. She is interested in writing about degrees of comparison.
Degree of comparison is the modification of an adjective or adverb to donate
different levels of quality, quantity or relation. Another definition about degrees
of comparison is the process of comparing things, person, or places through the
level of quality, quantity, or relation and it is formed from adjective and adverb.
But this study is only focused on adjective. There are three kinds of degrees of
comparison: positive, comparative and superlative.
Meanwhile, one of the reasons why the writer writes this case is because in
fact, many students still lack of knowledge in mastering grammar, especially
degrees of comparison. According to the result of the observation at SMP N 3
Tangerang Selatan (class VIII.10), it shows that they still find difficulties in
understanding or making comparative and superlative forms and also
distinguishing the form and the usage of each function.
According to Marriane Celce-Murcia and Diane Larsen-Freeman in The
Grammar Book, there are some common errors which are made by the students
with comparison, they are:
1. Omission of the comparative inflection - and perhaps also the copula:
* John (is) tall than Mary.
2. Subtitution of some other function word for than (a) or inappropriate use
of than (b):
(a) John is tall (er) from Mary.
(b) Paul is as tall than John.
3. Use of more where –er is required or vise versa:
(a) John is tall more / more tall than Mary.
(b) Mary is beautifuller than Karen.

3

4. Use of regular pattern where an irregular form is required
* His handwriting is badder than mine.
5. Double making of comparative.6
(a) Jim runs more faster than Paul
(b) This car is more better than that one

Based on the facts above, the writer would like to analyze why it happened
and what are the causes that students find the difficulties in mastering degrees of
comparison. Therefore, the writer is interested in discussing and analyzing what
are the difficulties faced by students in mastering degrees of comparison and why
the difficulty of degrees of comparison mastery is considered as one of the
problems for the students. Whereas the title of this research is an Analysis on the
Students’ Mastery of Degrees of Comparison (A Case Study at Second Grade
Students (VIII .10) of SMPN 3 Tangerang Selatan).

B. The Limitation and Formulation of the Problem
It is necessary to make the limitation and formulation of the problem to
avoid misunderstanding and to clarify the problem.
1. The Limitation of the Problem
The writer limits this study only on the analysis of what are the reasons
that cause VIII grade students (class VIII.10 at SMPN 3 Tangerang Selatan) find
difficulties in mastering degrees of comparison focused on comparison of
adjective.
2. The Formulation of the Problem
Based on the limitation above, the writer also formulates the problem of
study is:
*) what are the causes that students (Class VIII. 10) of SMPN 3 Tangerang
Selatan had the low mastery in degrees of comparison?

5 Marriane Celce-Murcia & Dianne Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book: An ESL / EFL
Teacher’s Course, (USA: Heinle & Heinle Publishers, 1999), second edition, p. 719.

4

C. The Method of the Study
In order to find the answer of the above question, the writer makes a case
study supported by library and internet studies.
Through the library, the writer finds out the materials (theories, articles
and referential books) that are related to the topic of discussion. On internet, the
writer browses some articles that are related to the topic discussed and mentioned
as references (it is only from reliable sources). And the last is a field research; the
writer conducts a case study. A case study is carried out at SMPN 3 Tangerang
Selatan and the students engaged in this research are VIII grade students
(especially class VIII. 10). This case study will be employed by the writer with
test and interview as the instruments to collect the data.

D. The Objective of the Study
The objective of the study is that the writer would like to get a clear
information about the level of students’ mastery of degrees of comparison of
adjective.

E. The Significance of the Study
There are two significances of the study, namely theoretical significance
and practical significance. Theoretical significance of this study is for the
improvement of the learners and teachers in learning and teaching English based
on the analysis of the students’ mastery of degrees of comparison.
In addition, the practical significance of this study can be used as a
valuable reference for further researcher who is interested in conducting similar
case of study. Also, the writer hopes that the result of this study would be
advantageous for the readers and also for her to enrich and improve her
knowledge and skill as a candidate of English teacher.

5

17

CHAPTER II
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

This chapter presents and discusses the theoretical framework about
degrees of comparison of adjective, which includes adjective and degrees of
comparison that consist of definition, kinds and the usage of degrees of
comparison, and the form of adjective comparison.

A. The Degrees of Comparison of Adjective
Before we know about the degrees of comparison of adjective, it is better
to discuss what adjective and comparison are. By knowing the literal meaning, it
will be easy for us to grasp the general understanding of degrees of comparison.
Therefore, in this part, the writer will explain about the adjective and the degrees
of comparison.
1. Adjective
Adjective is a part of grammar, it includes in the part of speech which
functioned to know the condition of a language. Marcela Frank states that “the
adjective is a modifier that has the grammatical property of comparison. It is often
identified by special derivational endings or by special adverbial modifies that
precede it. Its most usual position is before the noun it modifies, but it fills other
positions as well”.1 For example: That’s an interesting idea.
My mother is beautiful.
In grammar, an adjective is a word whose main syntactic role is to qualify
a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified.2
According to Paul Roberts, “adjective is a word that modifies a noun or
pronoun”.3 Moreover, adjectives can be used before and after nouns.4
1

Marcella Frank, Modern English: A Practical Reference Guide, (New Jersey: Prentice
Hall, Inc, 1972), p. 109.
2
http://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Adjective
3
Paul Roberts, Understanding Grammar, (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1954),
p. 91.
4
Jeremy Harmer, How to Teach English: An Introduction to the Practice of English
language teaching, (England: Longman Limited, 1998), p. 43.

17

Based on the statements above, it can be concluded that an adjective is a
word which has function to modify a noun or pronoun.
According to C. E. Eckersley’s definition, “adjectives are words that tell
us what a thing is like: words that we add to a noun to make our meaning fuller or
more exact, e.g. a good book, a fast train, six boys, my friends”.5
Martin Parrot states on his book Grammar for English Language Teacher
that adjective is often called „describing words’ because they provide information
about the qualities of something described in a noun, a noun phrase, or clause.6
For Examples:
A noun

: An old film

A noun phrase : An interesting experience for everyone
Clause

: It is unbelievable that we have not seen each other for so long.
From the definitions above, the writer infers that adjective is a word used

to describe or give more information about a noun or pronoun. In other words,
adjective is a describing word in a noun, a noun phrase, or clause.
Adjectives in English have the same form for singular and plural,
masculine and feminine. The only exceptions are the demonstrative adjectives
“this/that”, which change to “these/those” in the plural.
2. Degrees of Comparison
Before discussing about the kinds and forms of degrees of comparison,
firstly it is better to know about the definition of degrees of comparison. And
there are some definitions about degrees of comparison according to some experts
of English language.
a. Definition of Degrees of Comparison
To get the general understanding about degrees of comparison, it is better
to describe what comparison is. One of the most basic and powerful of human
cognitive process is the ability to comprehend and express the fact that two things
are similar or different. Often such similarity or difference is expressed in terms of

5

C. E. Eckersley, Essential English for Foreign Student, (London: Longmas Green & Co
London, 1957), p. 34.
6
Martin Parrott, Grammar for English language Teachers, (UK: Cambridge University
press, 2000), first ed, p. 18.

17
degree, extent, or quantity.7 Therefore, comparison is the most important English
construction which is used to express similarities or differences of degree or
extent.
“Degrees of Comparison of an adjective or adverb describes the relational
value of one thing with something in another clause of a sentence. An
adjective may simply describe a same quality (the positive); it may
compare the quality with that of another of its kind (comparative degree);
and it may compare the quality with many or all others (superlative
degree).”8
According to Martin Parrot in Grammar for English Language Teachers,
“comparatives are adjectives and adverbs that end in –er. (e.g. bigger, richer,
faster) and superlatives are adjectives adverbs that end in – est. (e.g. biggest,
richest, fastest)”9
“The degrees of comparison are known as the positive, the comparative,
and the superlative. (Actually, only the comparative and superlative show
degrees.) We use the comparative for comparing two things and the
superlative for comparing three or more things.”10
Based on the definitions stated above, the writer infers that comparison is
a process of comparing people, things, or places through the level of quality,
quantity, or relation. It is formed from adjective and adverb. But this study is only
focused on comparison of adjectives. Therefore, comparison of adjective
describes the relational value of an adjective or adjectival expression.
Comparison of adjective is the modification of an adjective to denote different
level of quality, quantity or relation.
Examples:
a. Clara is as tall as my friend.
b. Your computer is more expensive than mine.
c. Tamina is the cleverest student in my class.

7

Marianne Celce-Murcia and Dianne Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book. An ESL /
EFL Teacher’s Course. 2nd ed, (USA: Heinle & Heinle Publishers, Inc, 1999), p. 717.
8
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degrees_of_comparison
9
Martin Parrot, Grammar for English Language Teachers, (USA: Cambridge University
Press, 2000), p. 68.
10
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/adjectives.htm

17

There are three kinds of degrees of comparison in English: positive,
comparative and superlative degree. Each kind has different form and usage. The
explanation of those three kinds of degrees of comparison will clearly discussed
as follows:
b. Kinds and the Usage of Degrees of Comparison
There are three kinds of adjective comparison; they are positive,
comparative and superlative.
1) Positive
Positive degree is the most basic form of the adjective, positive because it
does not relate to any superior or inferior qualities of other things. Positive refers
to the quality of one person or thing. It is simply the adjective form. Positive also
used to compare two nouns or verbs that are equal or almost equal (equality). 11On
the other hand, we can use as + adjective + as for comparing two persons or
things that have the similarity of quality or quantity. For example:
 Meisya is pretty.


My mother is as old as my father.

For negative comparison, to talk about two things that is different in some way,
we use ‘not + as + adjective + as’. For example:


Her pencil is not as long as yours.

2) Comparative.
The comparative degree denotes a greater amount of a quality relative to
something else. The phrase „Anna is taller than her father’ means that Anna’s
degree of tallness is greater than her father’s degree of tallness.12 R.W. Zandvoort
and J. A. Van Ek said in their book “The comparative is used when one object or
group is compared with another and separate object or group.13 Comparative
degree is used to compare two person, places or things.
Example:




Neo is taller than Tirta.
Fia is less talkative than Vira.
This novel is more interesting than that one.

11

Ruth Pierson & Susan Vik, Making Sense in English, (USA: Addison-Wesley
Publishing Company, 1987), p. 77.
12
http: /en.wikipedia.org./Degrees_of_Comparison
13
R.W. Zandvoort and J.A. Van Ek, A Handbook of English Grammar, (London:
Longman Group Limited, 1980), 7th edition, p. 188.

17

3) Superlative
Superlative degree is used to stress the highest degree of quality for more
than two objects compared. It is the highest or lowest degree of quality when
more than two persons or things are compared. The superlative is used to compare
one member of a group with the whole group (including that member).14
For example:



Bob is the tallest boy in the club.
These bags are the most expensive of all.

c. The Form of Adjective Comparison
To make the comparison of adjective, we have to know the correct form
for a specific adjective word. Moreover, to form the degrees of comparison of
adjective, we need to know the inflection or addition ways of adjective. Whether
it is added by –er or –est at the end of the adjective, or preceded more- or mostbefore it. It depends on the length of the adjective word and on the last syllable.
The syllable itself is a unit of spoken language. 15
As the writer stated before, that the comparison is used in this form is
about adjective comparison. So in making the pattern of comparison, the writer
focuses on the adjective form.
Here are the patterns:
1. Positive comparison.
There are two ways the positive comparison, such as:


The simplest form that only use a single adjective after be or article (a, an,
the)16



Adding as before and after the adjective.
To make it clear, the table 2.1 below is presented:

14

Michael Swan, Practical English Usage, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), p.

144.
15
16

Alan Kent Dart, Grammar Workbook 1, (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1978), p. 175.
http://www.esldesk.com/grammar/adjectives

17

Table 2. 1
Form of Positive Comparison
The formula
 Subject + be + adjective
 Subject + be + as + adjective +
as
 Subject + be + not + as +
adjective + as

Example
a. The flowers are beautiful.
b. The girl is as clever as that
one.
c. This television is not as
expensive as that television.

2. Comparative form
The way to compare two things, persons or places is by using the
comparative form of adjective as follows:17



Adjective + -er + than
More + adjective + than
To make it clear, the writer gives the examples about the previous form in

the table 2.2 below:

Mark Foley & Diane Halla, Advanced Learners’ Grammar. Self –Study Reference and
Practice Book with Answers, (London: Longman, 1988) P. 224.
17

17

a) On the other hand, less and least are used in front of longer adjectives (with
two or more syllables) to show comparison of comparative and superlative.
Less is the antonym of more and least is the antonym of most.

18

For the

examples, the writer writes in the table 2.6 below:
Table 2.6
Less and Least
Positive

Comparative

Superlative

appealing

less appealing

least appealing

practical

less practical

least practical

expensive

less expensive

least expensive

b) There are irregular adjectives for comparative and superlative degree.
The lists of the irregular adjective for comparative and superlative degree
showed in the table 2.7 below:
Table 2.7
Irregular Forms of Comparison19
Positive form

Comparative form

Superlative form

good

better

best

worse

worst

more

most

little

less

least

old

elder (preferably used in family)

eldest (for person)

old

older

oldest (for things or person)

far

farther

farthest (of distance only)

further

furthest (used more widely)

well (adjective)
bad
badly
many
much

18

http: //www. Esldesk.com/grammar/adjectives
A. J. Thomson and A. V. Martinet, A Practical English Grammar, (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1986) Fourth Edition, p. 37.
19

17

c). With a few two-syllable adjectives, both kinds of comparative and superlative
are possible. These are: common, handsome, polite, quiet, wicked, pleasant, cruel,
stupid, tired, and words ending in -ow, -er, and -le.
From the statement above, table 2.8 shows the list of the adjectives with
two syllables both comparative and superlative that formed by adding prefix
more/ most and suffix –er/-est.
Table 2.8
Adjectives with Two Syllables both Comparative and Superlative that
Formed by Adding Prefix more/most and suffix –er/-est
Positive

Comparative

common

commoner more common

commonest

most common

clever

cleverer

more clever

cleverest

most clever

gentle

gentler

more gentle

gentlest

most gentle

hollow

hollower

more hollow

hollowest

most hollow20

bitter

bitterer

more bitter

bitterest

most bitter

tender

tenderer

more tender

tenderest

most tender

narrow

narrower

more narrow

narrowest

most narrow

shallow

shallower

more shallow

shallowest

most shallow

simple

simpler

more simple

simplest

most simple

quiet

quieter

more quiet

quietest

most quiet

20

144.

Superlative

Michael Swan, Practical English Usage, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), p.

18

CHAPTER III
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This chapter presents the research methodology used in this study. It
consists of the purpose of the study, place and time of the study, research method,
population and sample, the techniques of data collecting, and the techniques of
data analysis.
A. The Purpose of the Study
This study is aimed at analyzing the students’ mastery of degrees of
comparison at the eighth grade students of SMPN 3 Tangerang Selatan and also
describing what are the causes that students (VIII.10) of SMPN 3 Tangerang
Selatan find difficulties in mastering degrees of comparison.

B. Place and Time of the Study
The writer held the research at Eight Grade Students of SMPN 3
Tangerang Selatan, which is located on JL. Ir. H. Juanda, Ciputat Timur,
Tangerang Selatan. Banten. The writer did the research on Friday, 15th of April
2011.

C. Research Method
The writer focused on the problems faced by students in mastering the
degrees of comparison of adjective. In collecting data, the writer did a case study,
supported by library and internet studies. Then, she collected the data by testing
and interviewing the students at eighth grade (VIII. 10) of SMPN 3 Tangerang
Selatan. Finally, she interpreted the data about what are the causes that students
(VIII. 10) of SMPN 3 Tangerang Selatan had low mastery of degrees of
comparison.

19

D. The Subject of the Study
A case study is carried out at SMPN 3 Tangerang Selatan. The subject of
this research is the second year students (class VIII.10) of SMP N 3 Tangerang
Selatan.

E. The Techniques of Data Collecting
The next step of this research is the techniques of data collecting. There
were two techniques of data collecting applied in this study; they are test and
interview.
1. Test
In this technique of data collecting, the writer gave the test about degrees
of comparison of adjective. The test is used to find out what are the difficulties
faced by students in mastering degrees of comparison. The test is about the form
and the usage of comparative and superlative degree of adjective. The test consists
of 18 items, and the forms of test are multiple choices and filling the blanks. 6
items of comparative form and 6 items of superlative form are in multiple choices
test. And the rest of 6 items are the usage of comparative and superlative degrees
which consist of 3 items for the usage of comparative and 3 items for usage of
superlative degree, those items are filling the blanks test. The instrument of the
test can be seen in appendix.
2. Interview
The data of this study is also collected by using interview technique. This
technique is used to supplement the data needed which are not covered by test
technique, such as reasons why the students low mastery of degrees of
comparison. Therefore, this interview is also used to convince the researcher
about the data gained through another technique.
In this technique, the writer collects data by means of dialog directly, with
informants who consist of 5 students of VIII.10 who got bad score.

20

F. The Technique of Data Analysis
The last step of the research methodology is analyzing the data. The data
analysis is conducted by arranging the data obtained systematically. This is done
to make easier for the researcher to write the research report. The data gained
from test and interview.
The technique of data analysis that is used by the writer in this research is
descriptive analysis technique (percentage), which is described in the table of
percentage. In the table of percentage, the writer used formula:
F
P = ------- X 100%
N
Note:
P = Percentage.
F = Frequency of error made.
N = Number of sample which is observed.1
After getting the frequency and percentage of students’ mastery of
comparison of degree, the writer used formula:
F
P = -------- X 100 %
Nxn
Note:
P = Percentage.
F = Frequency.
N = Number of Students.
n = Number of items test.

1

p. 43.

Anas Sudjiono, Pengantar Statistic Pendidikan, (Jakarta: PT Grafindo Persada, 2005),

21

CHAPTER IV
DATA DESCRIPTION, DATA ANALYSIS, AND
INTERPRETATION

This chapter presents and discusses the finding of the research based on
the data obtained during the research. It involves of data description, data analysis,
and data interpretation.
A. Data Description
As the writer has stated that the purpose of this “Skripsi” is to find out
what are the causes or the factors that students (Class VIII. 10) of SMP N 3
Tangerang Selatan find the difficulties in mastering degrees of comparison.
In order to know this, the writer conducted a case study. A case study is
carried out at SMP N 3 Tangerang Selatan and the students engaged in this
research are VIII grade students (especially VIII. 10). The writer analyzed why
the students face difficulties in mastering degrees of comparison. This case study
was employed by the writer with test and interview as the instruments to collect
the data.
The test is about the form and the usage of comparative and superlative
degree of adjective. The two types of test are:
a. Form
This type of test is to test the students’ ability how to make comparative
and superlative degree dealing with the pattern.
b. Usage
This type test is to test the students’ ability whether they are able to
distinguish the usage of comparative and superlative degree or not.
The test consists of 18 items, and the forms of test are multiple choices
and filling the blanks or completing the sentences. 6 items of comparative form
and 6 items of superlative form are in multiple choices test. And the rest of 6
items are the usage of comparative and superlative degrees which consist of 3

22

items for the usage of comparative and 3 items for usage of superlative degree,
those items are filling the blanks test.
Table 4.1
The Students’ Score of Test Result
No Students

Score A Score B Score C

1.

Student 1

6

4

5

2.

Student 2

6

6

4

3.

Student 3

5

3

3

4.

Student 4

6

6

6

5.

Student 5

6

2

3

6.

Student 6

6

6

4

7.

Student 7

6

5

6

8.

Student 8

6

4

5

9.

Student 9

6

6

4

10. Student 10

5

4

6

11. Student 11

4

6

5

12. Student 12

3

5

1

13. Student 13

6

3

5

14. Student 14

2

3

1

15. Student 15

6

6

4

16. Student 16

5

6

4

17. Student 17

3

4

1

18. Student 18

6

3

2

19. Student 19

6

6

4

20. Student 20

6

6

6

21. Student 21

4

4

2

22. Student 22

4

2

3

23

No Students

Score A Score B Score C

23. Student 23

6

6

4

24. Student 24

3

2

3

25. Student 25

2

3

1

26. Student 26

4

3

2

27. Student 27

5

4

5

28. Student 28

6

2

2

29. Student 29

5

2

3

30. Student 30

4

5

4

31. Student 31

4

4

2

32. Student 32

6

6

3

33. Student 33

6

5

2

34. Student 34

6

4

3

35. Student 35

3

3

2

36. Student 36

6

4

2

37. Student 37

4

3

4

38. Student 38

5

6

4

Note:
Score A

: The score of comparative form

Score B

: The score of superlative form

Score C

: The score of the usage of both comparative and
superlative degree.

24

B. Data Analysis
The data analysis of the difficulty frequency of form and usage of degrees
of comparison are listed in the table below:

a. The form of comparative degree
Table 4.2
General Frequency of Students’ Mastery in Comparative Form
No

Item Number Frequency of Mastery Percentage

1

1

8

21.05 %

2

2

8

21.05 %

3

3

3

7.89 %

4

4

11

28.94 %

5

5

6

15. 78 %

6

6

2

5.26 %

Total

6

38

99.97 %

To find out the whole average used the following formula:
F

P=

x 100 %
Nxn

38
P=

x 100 %
38 x 6

25

3800

P=
228

P = 16, 666 %

The table shows that 16, 66 % students who got the mastery in the form of
comparative degree. The specific frequency of mastery in comparative form will
be showed in the table below.
Table 4.3
Specific Frequency of Students’ Mastery in Comparative Form
No

Comparative Types

Item
Number
1
2
4

Frequency Percentage
of Mastery
8
21.05 %
8
21.05 %
11
28.94 %

1

Add –er

2

Add more before adjective

5
6

6
2

15.78 %
5.26 %

3

Change –y to –i
and add –er

3

3

7.89 %

From the table above, it shows that in comparative type of adding –er
there are eight (21.05 %) students who had the mastery for the item number 1,
eight (21.05 %) students who had the mastery for the item number 2 and eleven
(28.94 %) students who had the mastery for the item number 4. In the comparative
type of adding more- before adjective there are six (15.78 %) students who had
the mastery for the item number 5 and two (5.26 %) students who had the mastery
for the item number 6. In the comparative type of changing –y to –i and add –er
there are three (7.89 %) students who had the mastery for the item number 3.

26

b. The form of superlative degree
Table 4.4
General Frequency of Students’ Mastery in Superlative Form
No

Item Number Frequency of Mastery Percentage

1

7

11

28.94 %

2

8

9

23.68 %

3

9

7

18.42 %

4

10

21

55.26 %

5

11

11

28.94 %

6

12

18

47.36 %

Total

6

77

202.6 %

To find out the whole average used the following formula:
F

P=

x 100 %
Nxn

77

P=

x 100 %
38 x 6

7700

P=
228

P = 33. 77 %

27

The table shows that 33.77 % students who got the mastery in the form of
superlative degree. The specific mastery will be showed in this following table.
Table 4.5
Specific Frequency of Students’ Mastery in Superlative Form
No

Superlative Types

1

Add –the most
before adjective
Add article the

2

F

4
5

Change –y to –i
and add –est
Irregular superlative
Add –est

6

Add be

3

Item
Number
7
8
8
9
10
12
10
10
11
12
9

Frequency Percentage
of Mastery
11
28.94 %
9
23.68 %
23.68 %
9
18.42 %
7
55.26 %
21
47.36 %
18
21
55.26 %
21
11
18
7

55.26 %
28.94 %
47.36 %
18.42 %

From the table above, it can be explained in superlative type of adding –
the most before adjective there are eleven (28.94 %) students who had the mastery
for the item number 7 and nine (23.68 %) students who had the mastery for the
item number 8. In the superlative type of adding article the there are nine (23.68
%) students who had the mastery for the item number 8, seven (18.42 %) students
who had the mastery for the item number 9, twenty one (55.26 %) students who
had the mastery for the item number 10 and eighteen (47.36 %) students who had
the mastery for the item number 12. In superlative type of changing –y to –i and
add –est there are twenty one (55.26 %) students who had the mastery for the item
number 10. In superlative type of irregular there are twenty one (55.26 %)
students who had the mastery for the item number 10. In superlative type of
adding –est there are eleven (28.94 %) students who had the mastery for the item
number 11 and eighteen (47.36 %) students who had the mastery for the item
number 12. In superlative type of adding be there are seven (18.42 %) students
who had the mastery for the item number 9.

28

c. Distinguishing the usage of degrees of comparison (comparative and
superlative)
Table 4. 6
General Frequency of Students’ Mastery in the Usage of Degrees of
Comparison (Comparative and Superlative)

No Degrees of Comparison

Item
Frequency of Percentage
Number
Mastery
13
2
5.26 %

1

Comparative

2

Superlative

14

23

60.52 %

3

Superlative

15

19

50 %

4

Superlative

16

23

60.52 %

5

Comparative

17

26

68.42 %

6

Comparative

18

4

10.52 %

Total

6

96

252.61 %

To find out of the whole average used the following formula:
F

P=

x 100 %
Nxn

96
P=

x 100 %
38 x 6

9600

P=
228

P = 42, 105 %

29

The table shows that there are 42,105% students who got the mastery in
the usage of comparative and superlative degree. The Specific Frequency of
Students’ Mastery in the Usage of Comparative and Superlative Degree will be
showed in this following table.
Table 4. 7
Specific Frequency of Students’ Mastery in the Usage of both
Comparative and Superlative Degree
No

Item
Number

Question

Answer
Key

Rule

Frequency Percentage
of
Mastery

1

13

more
comfortable

add more
before
adjective

2

5.26 %

2

14

This
car
is…than

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