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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

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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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Comments

Hi Nevı,

Yes! That's right. You can use any of these words before the adjective. They all have the same meaning. But, in style, miles is informal.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

I see many websites like bbc use "the most easy way". I even saw the book with similar title. Is there any tendency or clear instructions why we should be using that instead of easiest? Thank you in advance!

Hello Yokohama,

I wouldn't say 'the most easy way'; I would say 'the easiest way'. I've never seen anyone else use 'the most easy' and I'm afraid I can't explain why they do.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,
I am having trouble with these 2 sentences :
-Anna is the taller of the two sisters.
-Anna is the taller among the two sisters.
Could you please tell me which one is grammatically correct?
Thank you very much

Hello mynameiscg,

The first sentence is correct. We don't use 'among' when we are talking about only two. You could use it with a larger group and a superlative adjective 'the tallest among them', however.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi
Which one is correct?
North America’s strongest earthquake or
North America’s the strongest earthquake

Hello Azrostami,

The first one is correct; the second one is not.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

hi
are these sentences correct?
Mohammad is more careful than me. You find that when he answers the tricky questions. you will find mohammad is the most careful among us

thanks

Hi ahmad 920,

There are several ways the sentences could be changed, but as I don't know what your intended meaning is I can't suggest them. As the sentences are, there is only one change needed, which is to capitalise the word after the second full stop (you > You).

There should be a full stop at the end, of course.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,
which variant is correct when we use the adjective “friendly” in a comparative degree: friendlier or more friendly? Would you please give a full explanation? Thank you

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