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


Average: 4 (586 votes)

Submitted by Bambam. on Mon, 30/03/2020 - 00:26

Comparatives:used to compare diferents between the two objects they modif(smaller,faster,higher).. Example My house is larger than hers Superlative:used to describe an object which is at the upper or lower limit of a quality(the tallest,the smallest, the fastest).... Example This is the smallest box I've ever seen

Submitted by Alexander. on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 20:16

A quantifier is a word or phrase which is used before a noun to indicate the amount or quantity: 'Some', 'many', 'a lot of' and 'a few' are examples of quantifiers. Quantifiers can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns.

Submitted by Marco on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 01:46

I think this is an excelent material, I clarified some questions that I had.

Submitted by Andy on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 01:40

This helps me a lot to review the knowledge I have!

Submitted by IsaacAC on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 00:56

The explanation was good but I would put some images to do the topic easier.

Submitted by Alonso Morales… on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 00:31

The information obtained is very useful and helps a lot to better understand this topic of superlatives and comparatives

Submitted by Maria H.E on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 22:28

this was a very useful information... it has complete information about how to use comparatives and superlatives in the correct way :)

Submitted by francini on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 21:24

excellent explanation and very easy to understand. I would like to remember the most common mistake is using the superlative when there are only two items. For example: Incorrect: Mary was the tallest of the two girls. Correct: Mary was the taller of the two girls. When a word with three or more syllables is used as a comparative, –er and –est are typically not used, but rather “more” and “most” are used before the adverb.

Submitted by Diego Navarro on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 21:10

thanks for the content it helped me a lot since this topic is very difficult for me.

Submitted by Erikacastillo on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 20:46

An easy way to study the comparative and superlative form is: I did not forget it That the comparison is used to compare the differences between two objects We use that when we want to compare one thing with another: Angela's room is cleaner than Sue's. in the superlative we use it when we want to emphasize that the subject is at the upper or lower end of a quality. We use the with superlative adjectives: Angela's room is the cleanest. There are some rules to form the comparative and superlative. 1. For one-syllable adjectives: Superlative adds: "-est" the fastest Comparative: adds: "-er" faster 2. For one-syllable adjectives ending in "e": Superlative adds: "-st" best Comparative: add" -er nicer 3. For one-syllable adjectives ending in consonant vowel consonant: Superlative adds: consonant "-est" biggest Comparative:add: consonant "-er" hotter 4. For two syllable adjectives ending in "y": Superlative:replace "y" with: "-iest" happiest Comparative:replace " y" with: "-ier" funnier 5. For adjectives with two or more syllables: Superlative : adds: "the most" / "the least" Most beautiful Comparative : add: "more" / "less" more beautiful ,less beautiful

Submitted by Angioleth Rojas Mora on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 20:23

It is simple the comparatives is to put and see the difference between two things example, the car is small but this one is smaller and the superlative is used to highlight a characteristic of an object, thing or animal example, your dog is the fastest in the race

Submitted by Dianajimenezvargas on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 20:10

Good morning everyone, this topic is very important because it is where we are going to be able to compare things, we must be very careful when they are accountants and non-accountants, the practices found on this page are incredible. Thanks a lot. :)

Submitted by Yinia on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 19:46

Comparative adjectives are used to compare a certain characteristic or quality between two or more things, animals or people Superlative adjectives express the maximum degree of a feature of an element relative to others in the same group or condition

Submitted by Seiris U on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 19:44

thanks for the explanation and practice, it has helped me reinforce this topic, which can sometime be confusing.

Submitted by Angie Valverde… on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 19:36

remember that for the comparative you add -er and that for the superlative you add -est but using the rules correctly.

Submitted by Joselyn on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 18:57

Quantifiers define a name and are always located in front of the name. Some can be used only with countable names, others only with uncountable names and others with both.

Submitted by Jacqueline23 on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 18:42

The comparative is used in English to compare differences between the two objects it modifies(larger,faster,smaller) it is used in sentences where we compare two names. The superlative is used to describe an object that is at the top or bottom of a quality (the tallest, the smallest). used in sentences in which we compare a subject with a group of objects.

Submitted by Andrés Arias Q. on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 16:52

There's a lot of information about the correct from of adjectives to use comparatives and superlatives. You should remember the rules, for example: If an adjective ends in a vowel and a consonant, we double the consonant.

Submitted by Vale on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 14:44

It is very common to compare things using adjectives, for example: "That car is small but the other is smaller." These are called comparative adjectives. The superlative is an adjective that makes mention of something very large and out of the ordinary, with a maximum degree of excellence. Quantifiers in English many, much, some, any, no, none, a lot of, plenty of, few, little, enough, too, too many, too much, are words that help us quantify how much we have something a lot, little, lots, enough, too much

Submitted by Carlos ortiz on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 14:25

A very good explanation. We should remember to do not use "more" with short adjetives, it's a common mistake, instead of that we need to practice and remember the rules to modify the adjetive.

Submitted by raj.kumar123 on Sat, 21/03/2020 - 11:50

Dear Sir/Ma'am, Hello. 'Snippet' is a noun. However, many people use it as an adjective also. The common expression I have come across a number of times is "a snippet view of something". For example, "This article gives a snippet view of the complex idea of secularism." Is it grammatically acceptable? Thanks. Raj.

Hello again Raj

I'm not familiar with this particular collocation. An internet search suggests that it may come from the app Evernote, but I'm not sure about that. It does sound grammatically correct to me. In English there are many noun + noun combinations, e.g. 'coffee pot', 'tea cup', 'swimming pool', and this seems to be a relatively new one.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Cathymini28 on Fri, 13/03/2020 - 09:31

Hello, I'd like to know how to form the comparative form of the adjective "empty". The grammar rule says that for an adjective that ends with "Y" we need to change it into " IER" (eg happy=happier) However, I heard this morning on the radio "more empty than". Could you please tell me if "emptier than" would also have been possible? Thank you
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Fri, 13/03/2020 - 11:36

In reply to by Cathymini28


Hello Cathymini28

You are correct in thinking that 'emptier' is a comparative form of the adjective 'empty', but it's also true that many people use 'more empty' sometimes.

It's great that you noticed this!

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Cathymini28 on Fri, 13/03/2020 - 15:12

In reply to by Cathymini28

Thank you Kirk! Best wishes. Cathy

Submitted by Janaka Liayana… on Wed, 25/12/2019 - 12:50

Dear teacher, As I didn't get an answer for the question sent on 07 October, I would like to raise it again. thank you, What is the correct way bellow When we use comparative adjectives. 1. He is taller than I. 2. He is taller than me. 3. He is taller than I am. Thank you

Hello Janaka

For most people, all three of these are correct. As far as I know, no one would have any issue with 3, but there are some who prefer 2 to 1, and others who prefer 1 to 2. I usually use 2 or 3.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Risa warysha on Mon, 02/12/2019 - 21:27

hello Sir, Could you please tell me whether my sentences and the reasons are correct or not. ' she works harder than her late grandmother did.' ' The new car is more expensive than the old one was.' I used 'did' because it refers to my grandmother that has passed away and 'was' because the old car is broken or isn't used anymore. Thank you,Sir
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Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 03/12/2019 - 07:10

In reply to by Risa warysha


Hello Risa warysha,

Both sentences are correct but we generally don't add the final verbs as they are understood from the sentence as a whole:

She works harder than her late grandmother.

The new car is more expensive than the old one.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by goodusername on Sat, 26/10/2019 - 14:38

hello, I have a problem with the adjective oversize: I got into an argument with a friend weather more oversize is a correct usage of the adjective or not. To me it seems to be already in a comparative form, so I really wanna know if it can be used like shown previously

Hello goodusername

It would be a bit unusual to say 'more oversized', but in some contexts it could probably work, for example, if you are comparing two oversized items and one is bigger than the other.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Backlight on Sun, 20/10/2019 - 08:15

Hello, May I ask these sentences are correct or not. 1) My friend is more careful than me. 2) My friend is careful than me. 3) My friend is carefully than I or me. 4) My friend is careful than I or me. 1 Until 4 is only using the comparative and in sentences 3 I know it was wrong but I still do not know why sentence 3 is wrong. Thank You in advance for answering my question.
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Submitted by Peter M. on Mon, 21/10/2019 - 07:08

In reply to by Backlight


Hello Backlight,

The first sentence is correct. The others are incorrect.

We use 'than' after comparative forms. In (2) and (4) you have normal adjectives, not comparative forms. In sentence (3) you have an adverb, not a comparative form.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Janaka Liayana… on Mon, 07/10/2019 - 05:53

Dear teacher, What is the correct way bellow When we use comparative adjectives. 1. He is taller than I. 2. He is taller than me. 3. He is taller than I am. Thank you

Hello Janaka Liayanapathirana

All three of these are correct. I would recommend you use 2 in informal or neutral situations. 1 and 3 are appropriate for formal situations.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Alicia Landeros on Sun, 14/04/2019 - 06:18

Hello everybody.... I´ve got a question, first of all I´ve been checking the use of adjectives (as comparatives, superlatives, adjective ends ED and ING), I understand what is the use of which of them, but I don´t know if those ones have any special rule to transform the "basic form" of the adjective into the others. For example: Shock - Shocker (I´m not sure if this is the correct form) - Shockest - Shocked - Shocking Horrible - More horrible - Most horrible - Horrified* - Horrifying* Does anybody know something about it? Thanks for all your support, the Learn English team makes a great job :)
Hello Alicia, Some of the rules are easy to remember, such as the ones on the page about forming comparatives and superlatives. Other rules are much less consistent, I'm afraid. The first thing you need to do is to identify the adjective. For example, 'horrible' is an adjective, but 'shock' is not - it is a verb or a noun. You also need to recognise different words. For example, 'horrified' and 'horrible' have difference meanings: horrible = very unpleasant (a characteristic) horrified = shocked in a very unpleasant way (an feeling/emotion) ~ I think the best advice I can give is for you to make clear notes as you learn vocabulary. As you build up more and more examples you will start to see the patterns instinctively rather than through applying many complex rules. This is how native speakers learn such things, after all. ~ Peter The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by YSATO201602 on Wed, 06/03/2019 - 14:41

Hello Sir I have a question about the usage of the superlatives. 1.) The “smallest” number of women spend their leisure time in playing computer games. 2.) The “least” number of women spend their leisure time in playing computer games. 3.) The “fewest” number of women spend their leisure time in playing computer games. Which sentence sounds natural to native speakers? I felt all of the three were correct, but some native speakers said that we don’t use “smallest” in this case. So I just want to ask you whether it is true or not. Thank you. Regards
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 08/03/2019 - 06:40

In reply to by YSATO201602


Hello YSATO201602,

I think it's perfectly fine to use the smallest (or lowest) number of..., just as it is fine to use the biggest (or the highest, the greatest) number of...

The other two options sound rather strange to me. They are, of course, illogical as the superlative refers not to women but to number, and so least and fewesr are rather jarring. However, your question is about which are used and it is not uncommon for 'illogical' forms to come into use.



The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Mr. Peter M Thank you very much for your help! I could understand the difference quite clearly and I’d choose “smallest” or “lowest” in my writing! Best Regards YSATO201602
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Submitted by Pratapsingh on Sun, 24/02/2019 - 14:47

Rita is more beautiful than ........ of her sisters. A. any other B. any C. some D. all Dear sir, I know the correct answer is 'all', but I want to know the reason why all is correct, why 'some' or 'any' is not correct

Hello Pratapsingh

I would say that B, C and D are all grammatically correct.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by OlgaT on Mon, 26/11/2018 - 15:07

Hello, I can't find information about the degrees of comparison for the word "little" in use. It's an irregular adjective, is expected "less, (the) least". But in the expression, for example: "little girl" - how can we make comparative and superlative degrees? Basing on which grammar rules can it be explained to children?
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Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 27/11/2018 - 05:32

In reply to by OlgaT


Hello OlgaT,

The word 'little' has more than one meaning.

When we use it to describe quantity (a little time) then the progression is as you say: little > less > the least.

When we use it to describe size (a little girl) the progression is little > littler > the littlest.

However, littler/the littlest are considered non-standard by most speakers. The overwhelming majority avoid it and simply substitute smaller/the smallest

The alternatives (more litltle/the most little) are also used rarely and sound old-fashioned.



The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much for the answer. Yes, it was about the second meaning of the word. I understand it's just a very special word that is substituted with synonyms when making comparative and superlative.

Submitted by SajadKhan on Thu, 12/07/2018 - 10:36

Hi There, I have been learning here for almost two weeks, and it is my first comment here. I was going through the section "Adjectives- intensifiers with comparative and superlative". I read that "much" intensifier can be used with a superlative adjective but there was no example for it. Can you give me some example? "He is much the best in the field." is it correct? And also why is there no comment sections below some articles?
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Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 13/07/2018 - 09:00

In reply to by SajadKhan


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

Submitted by SonuKumar on Tue, 26/06/2018 - 09:52

Sir, 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 ?
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Tue, 26/06/2018 - 14:41

In reply to by SonuKumar


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

Submitted by Lal on Mon, 18/06/2018 - 12:26

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. Regards