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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


Is it correct to use 'a' instead of 'the' before a superlative. Recently, happened to read a sentence, "This is a best practice which must be followed elsewhere". The use of 'a' before 'best' is causing confusion. Please help.

Hello Adya's,

'best practice' is a common collocation, which means that 'best' isn't really a normal superlative here. It's as if 'best practice' were a noun by itself, so the general rule that 'the' is used before a superlative doesn't apply.

Please be sure to search for words and phrases in the dictionary before you ask us about them, as sometimes you will find your answers there.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

You will remember me as much as you forget me Or The more you forget me the more you will remember me, is there any difference between them and which is more appropriate and acceptable ?

Sir, You will go as far as you move on and You can run as fast as you want. Now could I also make them like this-
"You will go farther or far as much as you move on"
"You can run faster or fast as much as you want" ?

Hello SonuKumar,

'You will go farther' and 'You can run faster' are correct, but not the other phrasings.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi! Thank you for your job. It is very helpful!

Can you please explain me why we say "The cheetah is the fastest land animal"? I mean, why we use THE?
I know, this is not about adjectives, but I am trying to grasp everything.
I've just revised some grammar on "articles" and it was said that we should not use "the" with general words like "Life is too short" or "Optisians prescribe glasses". Isn't it the same?

Hello ruzic-balamut,

The use of articles for general meaning is quite complex. I answered a question about this a few months ago in quite a lot of detail so I'll direct you to that answer, which I think should be helpful.

You can find my answer here.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello teachers !

please help me . what´s the difference between these two sentences. "He doesn’t work as hard as her." and "He doesn’t work as hard as she does." .. im confused.

Hello mgfielrocha,

There is no difference in meaning between these two sentences. They have different grammatical structures after 'as hard as', but they mean the same.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear teachers,
Could you advise me what it's right "less cleverer than" or "less clever than"? Double comparative in the first example sounds a bit strange....