Children's comprehension of comparative forms

David Townsend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Children aged from 3.5 to 5.5 years were tested on their comprehension of the terms taller, shorter, more, and less in five types of sentences: truncated, explicit standard, expanded explicit standard, two-dimensional second-clause subject noun, and two-dimensional second-clause subject pronoun. Many childen performed poorly on less and shorter in truncated sentences; the presence of explicit comparative cues did not improve these children's performance. Children who performed perfectly on truncated sentences still had difficulty understanding two-dimensional comparisons, especially those with a second-clause subject pronoun. These children interpreted only the first clause of the second-clause subject pronoun sentences. The results suggest that many children are capable of understanding two-dimensional comparisons, but perform poorly on the second-clause subject pronoun sentences because of uncertainty about the referent of the pronoun.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-303
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1974

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