Comparative and Superlative Adjectives
To make the comparative form of adjectives (like ‘bigger’ or ‘more expensive’) and the superlative form (like ‘biggest’ or ‘most expensive’), first we need to know how many syllables are in the adjective.
Adjectives with one syllable
Usually if an adjective has only one syllable, we add ‘er’ to make the comparative form. We add ‘est’ to make the superlative form.
- clean → cleaner / cleanest
- cold → colder / coldest
- small → smaller / smallest
- young → younger / youngest
- tall → taller / tallest
There are some spelling changes. If there is one vowel followed by one consonant at the end of the adjective, we often double the consonant.
- wet → wetter / wettest
- big → bigger / biggest
- hot → hotter / hottest
- thin → thinner / thinnest
If the adjective ends in ‘y’, this often changes to ‘i’.
- dry → drier / driest
If the adjective ends in ‘e’, we don’t add another ‘e’, just ‘r’.
- nice → nicer / nicest
- large → larger / largest
Even when the adjective has only one syllable, it’s still not wrong to use ‘more’ or ‘most’. It’s possible to say ‘more wet’ or ‘most tall’. This isn’t incorrect.
There are a few adjectives that we have to use ‘more’ or ‘most’ with, even though they only have one syllable. We CAN’T add ‘er’ or ‘est’.
- fun → more fun / most fun (NOT funner / funnest )
- real → more real / most real (NOT realer / realest )
- right → more right / most right (NOT righter / rightest )
- wrong → more wrong / most wrong (NOT wronger / wrongest )
Adjectives with two syllables
For adjectives with two syllables we generally use ‘more’ or ‘most’.
- careful → more careful / most careful
- bored → more bored / most bored
But some two syllable adjectives can take ‘er’ or ‘est’. It’s also fine to use ‘more’ (for the comparative) or ‘most’ (for the superlative).
- clever → cleverer / cleverest
- simple → simpler / simplest
- narrow → narrower / narrowest
- quiet → quieter / quietest
Adjectives with two syllables that end in ‘y’ usually can add ‘er’ or ‘est’ (y generally changes to i). It’s also fine to use ‘more’ or ‘most’.
- dirty → dirtier / dirtiest
- pretty → prettier / prettiest
- happy → happier / happiest
- ugly → uglier / ugliest
Adjectives with more than two syllables
Adjectives with more than two syllables can only make their comparative by using ‘more’ and their superlative by using ‘most’.
- beautiful → more beautiful / most beautiful
- intelligent → more intelligent / most intelligent
- interesting → more interesting / most interesting
- expensive → more expensive / most expensive
There are also some irregular adjectives. We just need to learn these forms.
- good → better → best
- bad → worse → worst
- far → further → furthest
- little → less → least
- much → more → most
Try an exercise about making the comparative here.
Read about how to use comparative adjectives here.
Read about how to use superlative adjectives here.
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A Comprehensive List of Comparative and Superlative Adjectives
An adjective is a figure of speech that is used to describe the noun or pronoun in a sentence. It is used to modify the noun or pronoun. For example, «Mary is an intelligent girl.» In this sentence, the word ‘intelligent’ tells us more about the noun ‘Mary’, and is therefore, the adjective.
When adjectives are used for comparisons, they are used in different forms: positive, comparative, and superlative. These different forms of comparison are called degrees of comparison. They are dependent on the number of items that are to be compared. A comparative form is used to compare two or more items, whereas a superlative form is used to compare three or more items.
Comaratives and superlatives
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A comparative adjective is used to compare two things. A superlative adjective is used when you compare three or more things. For example, looking at apples you can compare their size, determining which is big, which is bigger, and which is biggest. The comparative ending (suffix) for short, common adjectives is generally «-er»; the superlative suffix is generally «-est.» For most longer adjectives, the comparative is made by adding the word «more» (for example, more comfortable) and the superlative is made by adding the word «most» (for example, most comfortable).
If a 1-syllable adjective ends in «e», the endings are «-r» and «-st», for example: wise, wiser, wisest.
If a 1-syllable adjective ends in «y», the endings are «-er» and «-est», but the y is sometimes changed to an «i». For example: dry, drier, driest.
If a 1-syllable adjective ends in a consonant (with a single vowel preceding it), then the consonant is doubled and the endings «-er» and «-est» are used, for example: big, bigger, biggest.
If a 2-syllable adjective ends in «e», the endings are «-r» and «-st», for example: gentle, gentler, gentlest.
If a 2-syllable adjective ends in «y», the endings are «-ier» and «-iest», for example: happy, happier, happiest.
Some 2-syllable adjectives use the standard «-er» and «-est suffixes», including adjectives that end in «er», «le», or «ow». For example: narrow, narrower, narrowest.
For most adjectives with two or more syllables, the comparative is formed by adding the word «more,» and you form the superlative by adding the word «most», for example: colorful, more colorful, most colorful.
Some comparative and superlative adjectives are irregular, including some very common ones such as good/better/best and bad/worse/worst.
|Case||Adjective||Comparative Form||Superlative Form|
ending in «e»
ending in a consonant with a single vowel preceding it
ending in «y»
ending in «e»
ending in «y»
ending in «le», or «ow»
|2 or more syllable adjectives,
|beautiful||more beautiful||most beautiful|
|colorful||more colorful||most colorful|
|complete||more complete||most complete|
|delicious||more delicious||most delicious|
|generous||more generous||most generous|
|important||more important||most important|
|Irregular and confusing adjectives||bad||worse||worst|
|far (place or time)||further||furthest|
|old (people or things)||older||oldest|
Biggest Things: Draw and Write 3 Things
Draw three of the biggest things you’ve ever seen and write about each of them. Or go to a pdf of the worksheet.
Smallest Things: Draw and Write 3 Things
Draw three of the smallest things you’ve ever seen and write about each of them. Or go to a pdf of the worksheet.
Each adjective has a comparative and a superlative form. In each row, write the two missing words. Adjectives: big, tall, fast, light. Or go to the answers.
Each adjective has a comparative and a superlative form. In each row, write the two missing words. Adjectives: few, short, wide, high. Or go to the answers.
Each adjective has a comparative and a superlative form. In each row, write the two missing words. Adjectives: young, slow, small, long. Or go to the answers.
Each adjective has a comparative and a superlative form. In each row, write the two missing words. Adjectives: narrow, large, soft, sweet. Or go to the answers.
Comparatives Chart #1
Each of the following adjectives has a comparative and a superlative form. In each row, write the missing adjectives. Adjectives: red, far, icy, bad, easy, friendly, funny, busy, smelly, pretty. Or go to the answers.
Comparative and Superlative Adjectives
|Comparative adjectives compare two things. Superlative adjectives compare more than two things|
Commonly, adjectives that contain only one syllable or end in ‘y’ use ‘er’ to form comparatives and ‘est’ to form superlatives. For adjectives ending in y, change the ‘y’ to ‘i’ before adding the ‘er’ or ‘est’.
- old – older – oldest
- young – younger – youngest
- pretty – prettier – prettiest
- long – longer – longest
- short – shorter – shortest
- bright – brighter – brightest
- close – closer – closest
- happy – happier — happiest
Adjectives with two or more syllables do not change but instead add more to form comparatives and most to form superlatives.
- respectable – more respectable – most respectable
- beautiful – more beautiful – most beautiful
- preferable – more preferable – most preferable
- hardworking – more hardworking – most hardworking
Some adjectives have different forms of comparatives and superlatives.
- good – better – best
- bad – worse – worst
- little – less – least
- much (many) – more – most
- far – further — furthest
The word than typically appears in comparative sentences.
- Amy is smarter than Betty.
- Chad is stronger than Dan.
- Greg is more diligent than his brother.
- I have more apples than he.
- She likes him more than me.
Superlatives are typically accompanied by the word the.
- Tom is the oldest man in town.
- Paul is the tallest boy in the neighborhood.
- That shade of blue is the most beautiful color.
- This is the longest song that I have ever heard.
Write the appropriate comparative or superlative form of the word cold in each blank.
Yesterday was a cold day. Today is than yesterday. Tomorrow will be the day yet.
Which of the following sentences is incorrect?
1)Mary is shorter than Jane.
2)The moon is more closer to the earth than the sun.
3)I have the best score on the exam.
Fill in the blanks.
1)My friend has a pretty purse, but I have a one.
2)The weather is yet to come!
3)Today’s sunshine is beautiful than yesterday’s.
Comparatives and Superlatives in English
In this post you will learn everything you need to know about comparatives and superlatives in English. It also includes 2 video lessons.
Comparative and superlative adjectives are used to compare people and things. Comparative adjectives are used to compare two things. We use superlative adjectives in English when we compare three or more things.
Forming Comparatives and Superlatives Adjectives
There are two basic ways of forming comparatives and superlatives in English.
One-syllable and some two-syllable adjectives
In general one-syllable words and some two-syllable words (those ending in consonant + –y and a few others: easier, happiest, narrower, cleverest) take -er, -est endings.
Two syllables and three syllables adjectives
Most long adjectives (most two syllables and three syllables) add more, most before the adjective.
Irregular Comparatives and Superlatives Adjectives
There are three adjectives with irregular forms:
The Olympic motto is “faster, higher, stronger”. TV viewers can watch the excitement of downhill skiing, bobsleigh, speed skating and ski jump. Who will be the fastest skier on the slopes? Which country has the strongest ice hockey team? Which team will win the most gold medals and top the medal table?
The French competitor’s ski jump was long .
However the Italian athlete’s distance was longer .
The German’s jump was the longest and he won the gold medal.
The Russian ice hockey team is strong and they stand a good chance of a medal.
The USA team is stronger . They beat the Canadians in a recent competition.
The Canadian team is the strongest and they should win the gold medal.
The Austrian skier is fast .
The French skier is faster and should win the silver medal this time.
The Swiss skier is the fastest by 5 seconds. He is expected to win an Olympic gold medal.
The fastest speed recorded on a bobsleigh track is 125 miles per hour. Germany have a strong bobsleigh team, but experts agree that the United States team is stronger, so they should win the gold medal.
Amy Williams won skeleton gold in Vancouver for Britain with a time of 3 minutes 35 seconds. She was the fastest woman in the competition.
Who will be the fastest female skier on the slopes?
The American skier is quick, but the Austrian competitor is even quicker. She’ll be favourite to win a gold medal.
Which athlete will jump furthest in the ski jump? The longest jump was made by a skier from Norway, who broke the world record.
The Austrian ski jumper is just 17. She is the youngest athlete in the competition.
Use the adjectives in brackets to compare the following:
1 mile/1 kilometer (long)
ex. 1 mile is longer than 1 kilometer.
1. The Eiffel Tower/The Statue of Liberty (tall)
2. The Pacific Ocean/The Atlantic Ocean (deep)
3. London Heathrow Airport/Amsterdam Schiphol Airport/Dublin Airport (busy)
English Comparative and Superlative Adjectives — Video Lesson
My English learning videos on YouTube will also help you better understand the rules of Comparatives and Superlatives in English: