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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


Basic level


Hello meheee2008uiu,

All of these forms are possible and have the same meaning. However, in the task only certain answers are possible because of the position of the commas.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Peter M


I can understand the meaning of following sentence, "Among these things, channel funding and consumer stimulation are seen to be the most important." But I am not able to apply this structure to my own sentences.

Actually I don't know how "to be" is used here. If I wanted to rewrite this sentence, it would be like this: "the most important things among these would be channel funding and consumer stimulation."

Thank you in advance for your response.


Hello Maryam,

Normally I'd recommend looking up 'be seen' or 'see' in the Cambridge Dictionary to see other example sentences, but I've just checked and don't see any. Another possibility would be to look for the phrase 'are (or 'is') seen to' in a concordancer, which will show you examples of those words from different sources. To do that, go to this corpus and then write 'are seen to' in the search box. Press the 'Find matching strings' button and then click on the link ARE SEEN TO and you'll see such a list.

It might also help to know that 'to be' could also be replaced by 'as being' and the meaning would be similar. You could also say something like 'are perceived to be'. This use of '(be) seen + infinitive' is a relatively uncommon structure and is quite formal.

I hope this helps you!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

i have finished.

Hi! Thanks for the clear explanation. I would like to ask about using an adjective and a different comparative adjective in one sentence. For example, can we say "this is a good example but the other was worse"?
Thank you

Hello Torta,

Yes, you can use adjectives as in that sentence. I wanted to point out, though, that you should say 'but the other one was worse'. See our one and ones page for more.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir,
i'd like to learn more about differences between LONG , TALL , and HIGH
where can i found that
best regards

Hello abd_elrahmann,

I'd encourage you to look up each of these words in the Cambridge Dictionary, where the example sentences will show you a lot about how they are used. 'tall' and 'high' in particular have a very similar meaning, but are used with different words. For example, people are tall, but mountains are high (we don't say high people or tall mountains). The dictionary will show you more examples. I expect you could also find some useful webpages by doing an internet search for something like 'high or tall?'

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I just want to ask to enlighten me for these words. Best wishes and Regards. What's the difference between the two?