Comparative adjectives

Comparative adjectives

Do you know how to use comparative adjectives like older, better and more interesting? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how we use comparative adjectives.

The city is more interesting than the countryside.
This house is older than my house.
She's better at cooking now than before.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Grammar A1-A2: Comparative adjectives: 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

We use comparative adjectives to compare two things or show change. The comparative form depends on the number of syllables in the adjective.

Adjectives with one syllable

To make comparative forms with one-syllable adjectives, we usually add -er:

old → older
clean → cleaner
slow → slower

If an adjective ends in -e, we add -r:

safe → safer
nice → nicer

If an adjective ends in a vowel and a consonant, we usually double the consonant:

big → bigger
hot → hotter

Adjectives with two or more syllables

If a two-syllable adjective ends in a consonant and -y, we change -y to -i and add -er:

noisy → noisier
happy → happier
easy → easier

We use more to make comparative forms for most other two-syllable adjectives and for all adjectives with three or more syllables:

crowded → more crowded
stressful → more stressful
dangerous → more dangerous

Exception: You can either add -er/-r or use more with some two-syllable adjectives, such as common, cruel, gentle, handsome, likely, narrow, pleasant, polite, simple and stupid.

I think life in the countryside is simpler than in the city.
It's more simple to live in the city because everything you need is there.

Irregular adjectives

The adjectives good, bad and far have irregular comparative forms:

good → better
bad → worse
far → further/farther

Than

When we want to say which person or thing we are comparing with, we can use than:

Their house is cleaner than ours.
Traffic is slower in the city than in the countryside.
After the race I was more tired than Anne.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Grammar A1-A2: Comparative adjectives: 2

Language level

Average: 4.3 (128 votes)
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Submitted by Phoung Thang on Sat, 23/03/2024 - 08:50

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It is really useful for me and I know my level.Thanks for your plans.

Submitted by nathynha27 on Thu, 18/01/2024 - 18:04

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What about adjectives like bored, tired, drunk? Why do I say I am more bored than her? Which one is correct: I am more drunk or drunker than her?
Thank you so much.

Hi nathynha27,

There are adjectives that don't follow the patterns described above.

  • Bored and tired are adjectives derived from verb forms and already include an -ed suffix, which is perhaps they don't conventionally take another -er suffix in the comparative form.
  • It is acceptable to say both drunker and more drunk. Other adjectives that can take both comparative forms include commoncruelfriendly and likely (see our other comparative adjectives page for more.) 

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Submitted by Manar.Mohamed.Gamal on Wed, 17/01/2024 - 06:48

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It's really useful, thanks for your kind support.

Submitted by Gendeng on Fri, 01/12/2023 - 04:18

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Why doesn't this sentence say "more dangerous"? Why use "More of + noun?" I'm confused here. Do "More + adjective" and "More of + noun" have the same meaning? Could you give other examples in the struture "More of + noun?" This is new to me because I usually say "more + adjective".

He attacked with such pace and I believe he was more of a danger than Pele at the time - he was a phenomenon, capable of sheer magic.

Hi Gendeng,

You could also use the adjective and say "he was more dangerous than Pele" here. As for the difference in meaning, it's simply that "dangerous" is an adjective, and "a danger" is a noun. Adjectives describe how something is (i.e., its qualities or characteristics). Nouns say what something is.

Although the word "more" is in this sentence, it isn't integral to the adjective/noun. For example, you can say "It was surprising" or "It was a surprise". 

Here are a few more examples with "more of" + noun.

  1. Messi is more of a striker than a midfielder.
  2. Air pollution is more of a concern than water pollution in our city.
  3. What I ate was more of a snack than a meal.
  4. His birthday party this year was more of a celebration than the one last year.

People might use "more of" + noun if no related adjective exists (see examples 1 and 3 above). Or, using the related adjective might sound unusual for some reason (e.g. in 4, although the adjective "celebratory" does exist, it's less commonly used than the noun "celebration"). Other times, there may be no apparent reason for choosing the noun over the adjective (e.g., example 2 - it could also say "Air pollution is more concerning ..."), and there is no significant difference.

I hope that helps to understand it.

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Thanks, Jonathan. I'm still confused about the meaning of "more of" here. Does it mean more about/ a larger degree? How do you paraphrase "more of" in this context so that I can understand clearly. Please give me a clear meaning about "more of".

1. Messy is more of a striker than midfielder = more about strike
2. What I ate is more of a snack than a meal = a larger part of snack.
3. "Could" is softener, more of a suggestion = more about a suggestion
4. More of a nuisance than it should be. = More about nuisance.
5. She seemed to be in even more of a mood for needling me than normal. = ... in even more like mood.
6. It's more rain than fog = It's a greater rain than fog.

Hi Gendeng,

It means "to a greater degree", or "more similar to". For example, (1) Messi is to a greater degree a striker than he is a midfielder; or Messi is more similar to a striker than to a midfielder. (2) What I ate was to a greater degree a snack than it was a meal; or what I ate was more similar to a snack than to a meal.

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Thanks a lot, Jonathan. How do you paraphrase "more of" in the following sentences? I really want to understand this.

1. "Could" is softener, more of a suggestion.
2. It's more of a guess tham an estimate.
3. More of a nuisance than it should be. = More about nuisance.
4. She seemed to be in even more of a mood for needling me than normal.

Hi Gendeng,

It's similar to the other examples in my last message.

  1. "Could" is a suggestion to a greater degree (than something else that is not specified in this sentence). / "Could" is more similar to a suggestion (than something else).
  2. It's a guess to a greater degree than it is an estimate. / It's more similar to a guess than it is to an estimate.
  3. It is a nuisance to a greater degree than it should be. / It's more similar to a nuisance than it should be.
  4. She seemed to be in this mood to a greater degree than she normally is.

Hope that helps.

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team