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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 llariuccia,

Both are correct, but mean different things: 'least favourite' expresses a preference, whereas 'worst' speaks of ability.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi guys, how are you?
May I know one correct answer from the fisrt excercise: "if i practice regularly i get...

Hi Diegocol710,

To see the correct answers to any task on LearnEnglish just click the 'Finish' button.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Why is a single-syllable adjective form used with "the most"?

God is the Most High, the Most Great. / the Most Pure / the Most Stronge.

Hello Dwishiren,

To be honest, I don't know. If you search the internet for 'the most High', you can find the same phrasing in translations of Jewish and Christian sacred texts as well. Perhaps this use reflects a grammatical structure that doesn't exist in English, or, more likely, I suspect, it is used to emphasise the transcendental nature of the Supreme Being that these religious traditions refer to. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other context when this structure would be used, so I'd recommend you avoid it outside of religious contexts.

Best regards,
The LearnEnglish Team

One of my Khmer colleagues at work (SHE - NGO in Cambodia) studies English at a local college evening class. Her group has been asked to make a presentation on Comparative and Superlative adjectives and something called Equative adjectives. I have never heard of these and can't help her. Please can you explain what they are or give an example. I'm guessing it's how you make a comparison of things that appear to be 'equal'. Many thanks.

Hello Linda Vejlupkova,

This is not a term which I've ever seen used with reference to the English language. I can only assume it means adjectival forms which show the same degree, such as 'as big as'. However, I'm guessing as it's not a term I have seen used in an English language context.

This page may be helpful.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks very much for your reply.

Should we always use the with superlatives?

Best regards,

Hello Aleksandra,

In general, yes. There are some exceptions which you will see (such as the phrase 'Best of all...' at the beginning of a sentence) but this is a good rule of thumb.

Best wishes, [without 'the']



The LearnEnglish Team