Comaratives and superlatives

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

Irregular adjectives

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.

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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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Adjectives List of Adjectives Comparative and Superlative Adjectives Adjective Worksheets

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
1-syllable adjectives

ending in «e»

close closer closest
huge huger hugest
large larger largest
strange stranger strangest
wise wiser wisest
1-syllable adjectives

ending in a consonant with a single vowel preceding it

big bigger biggest
fat fatter fattest
red redder reddest
sad sadder saddest
thin thinner thinnest
1-syllable adjectives

ending in «y»

dry drier driest
spry sprier/spryer spriest/spryest
wry wrier/wryer wriest/wryest
1-syllable adjectives,

other cases

fast faster fastest
great greater greatest
quick quicker quickest
short shorter shortest
tall taller tallest
2-syllable adjectives

ending in «e»

fickle fickler ficklest
handsome handsomer handsomest
polite politer politest
2-syllable adjectives

ending in «y»

bumpy bumpier bumpiest
heavy heavier heaviest
icy icier iciest
shiny shinier shiniest
tiny tinier tiniest
2-syllable adjectives

ending in «le», or «ow»

able abler ablest
gentle gentler gentlest
hollow hollower hollowest
narrow narrower narrowest
shallow shallower shallowest
simple simpler simplest
2 or more syllable adjectives,

other cases

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) farther farthest
far (place or time) further furthest
good better best
late (time) later latest
late (order) latter last
little (size) littler littlest
little (amount) less least
many/much/some more most
old (people or things) older oldest
old (people) elder eldest

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.

Comparatives #1
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.

Comparatives #2
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.

Comparatives #3
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.

Comparatives #4
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.

[Quiz 8.1]

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:

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