Comparative and superlative adverbs

Learn how to make comparisons with adverbs and do the exercises to practise using them.

Comparative adverbs

Level: beginner

We can use comparative adverbs to show change or make comparisons:

I forget things more often nowadays.
She began to speak more quickly.
They are working harder now.

We often use than with comparative adverbs:

I forget things more often than I used to.
Girls usually work harder than boys.

Level: intermediate

We use these words and phrases as intensifiers with comparatives:

much far a lot quite a lot
a great deal a good deal a good bit a fair bit

I forget things much more often nowadays.

We use these words and phrases as mitigators:

a bit  slightly rather
a little a little bit just a little bit

She began to speak a bit more quickly.

Level: beginner

Superlative adverbs

We can use superlative adverbs to make comparisons:

His ankles hurt badly, but his knees hurt worst.
It rains most often at the beginning of the year.

Level: intermediate

We use these words and phrases as intensifiers with superlatives:

easily by far much

When we intensify a superlative adverb, we often put the in front of the adverb:

In our office, Jill works by far the hardest.
Of the three brothers, Brian easily runs the fastest.

Level: beginner

How to form comparative and superlative adverbs

We make comparative and superlative adverbs using the same rules as for comparative and superlative adjectives. For example:

One syllable: Jill works fast. > faster > fastest
One syllable ending in –e: They arrived late. > later > latest
Two or more syllables: Alan finished the test quickly. > more quickly > most quickly
well: She speaks English well. > better > best
badly: She speaks German badly. > worse > worst
far: He'll go far. > farther/further > farthest/furthest
Comparative adverbs 1


Comparative adverbs 2


Superlative adverbs 1


Superlative adverbs 2


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Submitted by c0chito on Wed, 12/08/2020 - 23:31

I think is better to be more specific with this important rule: "With adverbs ending in -ly, you must use more to form the comparative, and most to form the superlative."
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Tue, 14/07/2020 - 23:01

This tip is an educative one.

Submitted by itspb008 on Fri, 24/04/2020 - 12:00

Can you give order of the adverbs like how two or three different adverbials goes in a sentence with example?

Hello ltspb008

There's so much variation with this that it's difficult to make general statements other than that adverbs that modify other adverbials tend to go before the form they modify.

One other is that adverbials of place tend to come before adverbials of time when both come after the verb (e.g. 'We went to the beach every day' is more natural than 'We went every day to the beach').

If you had a specific sentence or adverbial in mind, please let us know.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Moroccish on Sun, 05/01/2020 - 13:53

Hi Kirk, Some of my colleagues disagreed about the the right tense to use (future simple or perfect) in the the following sentence: Jamal is preparing for the reading competition which (take place)................. in three months' time. Their answer was future perfect, for, they argued, there is the expression "in three months' time", which we use with future perfect. My answer is future simple (will take place). What do you think? Thank you in advance.
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Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 07/01/2020 - 07:30

In reply to by Moroccish


Hi Moroccish,

Of the two options, will take place is the more likely choice, in my view, but both are grammatically possible.


The future perfect form is used when looking back from a time further in the future. Most often, this is done with a by-phrase:

The competition will have taken place by the summer. [= at some point before the summer]

It is possible to use a time phrase beginning with in, but the point of view should be from a time further in the future. Thus you could say this if you are imagining yourself looking back from, say, the autumn:

The competition will have taken place in the summer. [= looking back from the autumn]

A phrase like in three months' time can suggest a concrete time, rather than a point before which something happens, so we would usually add an adverb to avoid ambiguity:

The competition will have already taken place in three months' time. [= Three months from now, the competition will be over and done]


Other forms are possible, of course: is to take place, takes place etc.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by mtoker on Mon, 07/10/2019 - 14:49

Hi. Which usage is correct? The actors were dressed beautiful. or The actors were dressed beautifully.
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Tue, 08/10/2019 - 06:25

In reply to by mtoker


Hello mtoker

I probably wouldn't use either form, to be honest, but if I had to choose one I'd say 'beautifully', which is an adverbial and refers to the way the actors were dressed. I'd also say 'beautifully dressed' instead of 'dressed beautifully'. But really I would probably avoid it altogether by saying something like 'The actors' costumes were beautiful'.

All the best


The Learn English Team

Hi Kirk
Why would you avoid either form?
Non-native, ESL teacher here and curious about your usage perspective as a native speaker.

Hello Suryabound9,

'The actors were dressed beautiful' is not grammatically correct.

'The actors were beautifully dressed' is grammatically correct and would be fine if it's about some actors who aren't playing roles; for example, if they've gone to the Oscars and the speaker is impressed by their clothes, this sentence would be fine. I'd probably use some expression (e.g. 'to be dressed to the nines'), but this sentence is perfectly fine.

Does that help?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team