Adjectives: using the Comparative and Superlative

A comparative adjective does what it says: it compares two things, or groups of things. We need to form a comparative adjective to show what is most or what tops a category.

Form

We form a comparative adjective for a one-syllable adjective by adding -er (for the comparative) and -est (for the superlative) to the adjective, for example:

Normal Adjective: Big

Comparative Adjective: Bigger

Superlative Adjective: Biggest

Normal Adjective: Small

Comparative Adjective: Smaller

Superlative Adjective: Smallest

NOTE: when a one-syllable adjecive ends in a vowel and a consonant, then remember to double the consonant (see the example below). 

Noun (subject) + verb + comparative adjective + than + noun (object)
My dog is bigger (big + g +er) than your dog.

Form a comparative adjective for a two-syllable adjective by adding -ier and -iest to the adjective:

Pretty : prettier : prettiest

Happy: happier : happiest

Finally, form the comparative adjective for two or more syllables by adding the word ‘more’ and ‘the most’.

Beautiful : more beautiful : most beautiful

Delicate : more delicate : most delicate

Be careful when making irregular adjectives comparative or superlative: good, bad, and far take special forms:

Good : better : the best

  • Those bottles of wine are good.
  • That vintage is better.
  • In my opinion, this one is the best.

Bad : worse : the worst

  • Her injuries are bad.
  • Their injuries are worse.
  • His injuries are the worst.

Far : further : the furthest

  • Kristof had to travel far to get here.
  • Anfal had to travel further than Kristof did.
  • Gian had to travel the furthest of all of us.

Be careful!

We don’t say: That muffin is more bigger than this one.

We say: That muffin is bigger than this one.

We don’t say: She is the most tall in the choir.

We say: She is the tallest in the choir.

We don’t say: I found that book to be interestinger than his first book.

We say: I found that book to be more interesting than his first book.

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