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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 Julia 19862008

Both forms are used very frequently and so you can use the one you prefer. In very specific formal situations (for example, writing a book or article), the publisher might prefer one form over the other. But the vast majority of the time, either one should be fine.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Could you tell me if this sentence is correct:
A cry for survival comes from the planet itself. A cry that can’t be any more clear. or shall I say: A cry that can’t be any clearer.

Thanks a lot,

Hello Atlantics,

'any clearer' is the best form here. I'd also recommend changing 'can't' to 'couldn't': 'A cry that couldn't be any clearer'.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir,
is this sentence correct?

Here I have used inversion with comparison:

Children spend more time with teachers than do they with parents.

Hello Chékytan,

We don't use inversion in comparisons like this -- instead, you should use the normal word order: 'Children spend more time with teachers than [they do] with their parents.'

You can also leave out the words in brackets and still have a grammatically comparative statement.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi team
I confused about this sentence
What's the funniest advert you have seen recently?
I have been thinking right sentence is
'' What's the funniest advert have you seen recently? '' Why mine isn't true?

Hello Yigitcan,

The sentence is correct because the main verb in the sentence is 'is', not 'you have seen'. It might help to simplify the sentence to 'What is the funniest advert?' In this case, it's clear that 'is' is the main verb.

'you have seen recently' is part of the relative clause '(that) you have seen recently', which gives us more information about the advert.

Does that make sense?

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello team,
I'm slightly confused.
The description described that If an adjective ends in a vowel and a consonant, we double the consonant. However, the words 'new' and 'clean' do not obey the rule. Why?

Hello Via,

The rule on this page is a general one and 'newer' and 'cleaner' are exceptions to it. The best thing to do is check a dictionary or reference book when you want to be sure of the spelling. I'm sorry for any confusion.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot. I got it.