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Comparative and superlative adjectives

Level: beginner

Comparative adjectives

We use comparative adjectives to show change or make comparisons:

This car is certainly better, but it's much more expensive.
I'm feeling happier now.
We need a bigger garden.

We use than when we want to compare one thing with another:

She is two years older than me.
New York is much bigger than Boston.
He is a better player than Ronaldo.
France is a bigger country than Britain.

When we want to describe how something or someone changes we can use two comparatives with and:

The balloon got bigger and bigger.
Everything is getting more and more expensive.
Grandfather is looking older and older

We often use the with comparative adjectives to show that one thing depends on another:

The faster you drive, the more dangerous it is. 
(= When you drive faster, it is more dangerous.)

The higher they climbed, the colder it got. 
(= When they climbed higher, it got colder.)

Comparative adjectives 1


Comparative adjectives 2


Superlative adjectives

We use the with superlative adjectives:

It was the happiest day of my life.
Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
That’s the best film I have seen this year.
I have three sisters: Jan is the oldest and Angela is the youngest

Superlative adjectives 1


Superlative adjectives 2


How to form comparative and superlative adjectives

We usually add –er and –est to one-syllable words to make comparatives and superlatives:

old older oldest
long longer longest

If an adjective ends in –e, we add –r or –st:

nice nicer nicest
large larger largest

If an adjective ends in a vowel and a consonant, we double the consonant:

big bigger biggest
fat fatter fattest

If an adjective ends in a consonant and –y, we change –y to –i and add –er or –est:

happy happier happiest
silly sillier silliest

We use more and most to make comparatives and superlatives for most two syllable adjectives and for all adjectives with three or more syllables:

careful more careful  most careful
interesting more interesting  most interesting

However, with these common two-syllable adjectives, you can either add –er/–r and –est/–st or use more and most:


He is certainly handsomer than his brother.
His brother is handsome, but he is more handsome.
She is one of the politest people I have ever met.
She is the most polite person I have ever met.

The adjectives good, bad and far have irregular comparatives and superlatives:

good better best
bad worse worst
far farther/further  farthest/furthest
How to form comparative and superlative adjectives



Hello SajadKhan,

Your example is correct. The phrase 'much the best' has a similar meaning to 'easily the best'. It's quite a formal phrasing.

Most pages have comments sections but some do not. Generally, these are pages which are abbreviated versions of other pages or pages which have relatively little information on them, if I remember correctly.



The LearnEnglish Team

I've read it that If a noun requires more
degree of an adjective, So we use the
strong adjective to modify that noun rather
than using the positive form of an adjective
with the intensifier 'Very'.

Like this: Very dirty to Filthy, Very Good to
Excellent or Fantastic, Very bad to Awful and
so on.

Is it true or a widely followed rule and does
the same apply for adverbs ?
Like this: Very well to Excellently or
Fantastically ?

Hi SonuKumar,

Strong adjectives are quite common, but people also use, for example, 'very dirty'. I'm afraid I can't really be much more specific than that, as what people say depends heavily on context and their own way of speaking. If you are writing for a teacher or an exam, strong adjectives, judiciously used, are probably going to impress your reader more, though I'm not sure that's what you're thinking of.

The same 'rule' (though I'm not sure I'd called it a rule, really) doesn't really apply to adverbs. These adverbs exist, for the most part, but are quite unusual.

Hope this helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
This sentence is from your website grammar' topic 'superlative' and I would like to know
that usually the adjective elder, eldest is use among brothers and sisters in a family but
not old and older. But this sentence ' I have three sisters, Jan is the oldest and Anjela is
the youngest. My question is 'Jan is the eldest and Anjela is the youngest is the normal
way of writing. I am I right?
Thank you.

to indicate that a person was born first than another we can use "older",
To indicate was born after we can use "younger"

Hi Lal,

'eldest' and 'oldest' mean exactly the same thing in this sentence. Traditionally, 'eldest' was probably more common than 'oldest', but I'd say both forms are used equally these days.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


There is an example in Longman dictionary as below:

Women are more at risk from the harmful effects of alcohol than men.

I tried to find out what its structure is, but I couldn't, especially "at risk from the harmful effects of alcohol" : What is its role? And how to find its role?

I guess it's an adjective phrase. Is it right? If yes, why it's an adjective phrase?

I can't find the theory to explain it in detail. Please show me how to understand the structure of above sentence.

Thank you!

Hi David,

'At risk of' is an example of a prepositional phrase. Prepositional phrases can have adjectival or adverbial functions in the sentence. In this case it is adjectival.

If you want to analyse sentences for the functions of various parts then a good place to start is an online parsing tool. They are not perfect but are a good starting point. You can find many online, such as this one.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


Is there any difference between ''The respected people went . . .'' and ''The people respected went . . . ?''

I know that there are ed-adjectives that can be used in both positions with a changing meaning. I could not find the list of these.

Thank you.

Hello JamlMakav,

The first phrase looks fine to me. The second does not look correct.

Some -ed forms can be used in participle phrases or as reduced relative clauses - see this page for some examples. That may be what you have in mind.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team