Semiotics 1980 pp 355-364 | Cite as

Comparative Adjectives in Terms of Peirce’s Phenomenological Categories

  • Sarah O’Dowd


This paper explores ways in which semiotic concepts of Charles Sanders Peirce illuminate the meaning-potential of English comparative adjectives. Having classified all phenomena into categories of Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness, Peirce describes the three degrees of adjectives in terms of these categories: “Firstness is the mode of being of that which is such as it is, positively and without reference to anything else” (Hardwick, 1977: 24). The uncompared positive degree of an adjective such as red or hard, then, is Peirce’s example of Firstness. We return to this idea later.


Semantic Space Comparative Form Chicago Linguistic Society Comparative Clause Comparative Morpheme 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah O’Dowd
    • 1
  1. 1.Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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