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Comparative and superlative adjectives

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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

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Comparative adjectives 2

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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

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Superlative adjectives 2

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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:

common
cruel
gentle
handsome
likely
narrow
pleasant
polite
simple
stupid

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

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Basic level

Comments

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

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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.

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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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