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Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

In English, when describing the qualities of things and people, we often use adjectives. Adjectives play a crucial role in influencing English grammar. For instance, comparative and superlative adjectives enable us to express degrees of comparison and contrast, indicating if something has more, or less, and the most of a particular degree. It is beneficial for you to be familiar with two forms of adjectives used for comparison: comparative and superlative adjectives. Let’s explore the rules of comparative and superlative adjectives by using tables and sentence examples.

What are Comparative Adjectives?

Comparative adjectives are a type of adjective used in English to compare two or more things or people, highlighting the differences in their qualities or characteristics. They are often used to indicate that one thing has more or less of a particular quality in comparison to another. Comparative adjectives are typically formed by adding the suffix “-er” to the base adjective (for one-syllable adjectives) or by using “more” or “less” in front of the adjective (for multi-syllable adjectives). Here are the two main ways to form comparative adjectives:

Adding “-er” to one-syllable adjectives:
Small → Smaller
Fast → Faster
Tall → Taller
Cheap → Cheaper

Using “more” or “less” with multi-syllable adjectives:
Beautiful → More beautiful
Expensive → More expensive
Difficult → Less difficult
Interesting → More interesting

When using comparative adjectives in a sentence, you typically follow the structure “more/less + adjective + than” or “adjective + -er + than.” For example:
The cat is smaller than the dog.
She is more intelligent than her classmates.
This book is less expensive than the one I saw yesterday.

Comparative adjectives are essential for making comparisons and expressing degrees of difference between things or people. They are often used to show which of the two compared items has a higher or lower degree of the specified quality.

What are Superlative Adjectives?

Superlative adjectives are a type of adjective used in English to compare one thing or person to all others in a group, highlighting the highest or the lowest degree of quality. They are generally used to indicate that one thing has the most extreme quality of a given thing in the group. Superlative adjectives are typically formed by adding the suffix “-est” to the base adjective (for one-syllable adjectives) or by using “most” or “least” in front of the adjective (for multi-syllable adjectives). Note that most superlative adjectives should be preceded by ‘’the’’.

Here are the three main ways to form superlative adjectives:

Adding “-est” to one syllable adjectives before adding “-est” to the superlative adjectives, in front of the adjectives should be preceded by “the”:

Small → the smallest
Fast → the fastest
Tall → the tallest
Cheap → the cheapest

Using most or least with multi-syllable adjectives:
Beautiful → The most beautiful
Expensive → The most expensive
Difficult → The least difficult
Interesting →The most interesting

When using superlative adjectives in a sentence, you typically follow the structure “the most/least + adjective in the group.” For example:
Rusty spotted cats are the smallest wild cats in the world.
John is the most intelligent student in his class.
This book is the least expensive one in the bookstore.

Forming Regular Comparatives and Superlatives

Let’s look at there are some ways of forming regular comparative and superlative adjectives, the formation of comparative and superlative adjectives generally depends on the structure and the number of syllables in the adjective. Therefore, here are some of the common formulas for forming comparatives and superlatives:

One-Syllable Adjectives

Rule 1: Comparative adjectives are formed by adding -er at the end of the adjective for one-syllable adjectives, all adjectives that are followed by the conjunction “than” in order to show a comparison of one thing with another in general. On the other hand, superlative adjectives are formed by adding -est to the end of the adjective for one syllable.

AdjectiveComparativeSuperlative
OldOlderOldest
ColdColderColdest
LongLongerLongest

For example:
My grandma is older than her sister.
The weather today is colder than yesterday.
My girlfriend is longer than I am.
Iran is the oldest country among the other countries.
Yakutsk is the coldest city in the world.
The Po is the longest river in Italy.

Rule 2: If an adjective ends in -e, we add –r for the comparative form, and -st for the superlative form.

AdjectiveComparativeSuperlative
BraveBraverBravest
LargeLargerLargest
LateLaterLatest
WiseWiserWisest
SimpleSimplerSimplest
PolitePoliterPolitest
CuteCuterCutest

For example:
Yesterday he was braver when Luca rescued the injured animal from the forest.
This medium pizza is larger than the small one.
Yesterday I met with my friends later than I had planned.
Maria is wiser than her colleagues.
The IOS new software is simpler to use for beginners.
Marco seemed politer than he was when he thanked the famous guests for opening the theater.
Being in the theater is cuter than being in the traffic for me.
Among all the wizards in Hogwarts, Severus Snape was the bravest, always trying to protect Harry Potter.
Mount Everest is the largest mountain in the world.
The student caught the bus at the latest second before moving.
Little David is the wisest child among all of his siblings.
This is the simplest game I have ever won.
Lucy is the politest person I have ever met.
Jedi is the cutest tuxedo cat in the park.

Rule 3: For one-syllable adjectives, if an adjective ends in a consonant -y, we change -y to -i and then -er for comparative form and ‘’-est’’ for superlative form.

AdjectiveComparativeSuperlative
FunnyFunnierFunniest
BusyBusierBusiest
HappyHappierHappiest

For example:
Watching Modern Family is funnier than watching Friends.
My mother is busier during the summer holiday season than at any time of the year.
During summer, our office is the busiest among all the travel offices.
Aile Arasında is the funniest comedy film I have ever watched.
The baby’s laughing, the happiest smile Luca has ever seen.

Two-Syllable Adjectives

When using comparative adjectives with two or more syllables, form the comparative by placing “more” or “less” before the adjective, followed by the conjunction “than”.

While using superlative adjectives with two or more syllables, form the superlative by using “the most” or “the least” before the adjective, and should be added “-est” to the ending of the adjective.

Here is a table commonly used with two or more syllables for comparative and superlative adjectives.

AdjectiveComparativeSuperlative
CommonMore/ Less commonMost/ Least common
NervousMore/ Less nervousMost/ Least nervous
QuietQuieterQuietest
HandsomeMore/ Less handsomeMost/ Least handsome
PleasantMore/ Less pleasantMost/ Least pleasant
StupidStupiderStupidest

Here are comparative adjectives:
It’s more common for people to use e-kindle than books.
She is feeling less nervous about the speech after practicing.
The library is quieter than the campus’s cafeteria.
My father is considered more handsome than all men.
Last week the weather was less pleasant than yesterday.
Breaking up with his girlfriend was stupider than he thought.

Here are superlative adjectives:
Using smartphones is the most common technological device among other devices.
Her fear of flying made her the most nervous passenger on the plane.
The library is the quietest place to study for exams.
Elvis Presley is one of the most handsome men in the world.
The picnic in the park was the most pleasant activity that we have ever experienced.
Laura realized that her actions were the stupidest things she had ever done.

Three or More Syllables Of Adjectives

When using comparative adjectives with three or more syllables, form the comparative by placing “more” or “less” before the adjective, followed by the conjunction “than”.

While using superlative adjectives with three or more syllables, form the superlative by using “the most” or “the least” before the adjective, and should be added “-est” to the ending of the adjective.

Here is a table commonly used with three or more syllables for comparative and superlative adjectives.

AdjectiveComparativeSuperlative
BeautifulMore/ Less BeautifulMost/ Least Beautiful
InterestingMore/ Less InterestingMost/ Least Interesting
ComfortableMore/ Less ComfortableMost/ Least Comfortable
DeliciousMore/ Less DeliciousMost/ Least Delicious
ComplicatedMore/ Less ComplicatedMost/ Least Complicated
IntelligentMore/ Less IntelligentMost/ Least Intelligent
CharmingMore/ Less CharmingMost/ Least Charming
RemarkableMore/ Less RemarkableMost/ Least Remarkable

For example:
I am more beautiful than my sister.
Dune is less interesting than the Harry Potter films.
My new mattress is less comfortable than the old one.
The homemade cookie is more delicious than the pâtisserie cookies.
Solving age problems is less complicated than the other Math problems.
My little brother is more intelligent than his classmates.
My hometown is more charming than Ankara.
Johnny Depp’s career is more remarkable than his marriages.
She is the most beautiful student in the university.
This speech is the most interesting podcast I’ve ever listened to.
My grandma is the most comfortable person that I can speak to.
This is the most delicious dessert I’ve ever tasted.
Quantum physics is the most complicated subject in science.
Albert Einstein is considered the most intelligent scientist in the world.
Dubai is one of the most charming destinations in the world.
Asian culture is the least remarkable among all cultures.

Irregular Adjectives

Here is a table of the adjectives which are called irregular adjectives that do not follow the general rules for forming the comparative and the superlative adjectives. They have unique forms that need to be learned. Here are some examples of the most commonly used irregular adjectives and their comparative and superlative forms:

AdjectiveComparativeSuperlative
GoodBetterBest
BadWorseWorst
FarFarther - FurtherFarthest - Furthest
LittleLessLeast
WellBetterBest
Much-ManyMoreMost

For example:
His final exam results are better than the rest of his class.
He is feeling worse right now.
Kars is farther than Ankara.
Last week, Luca ate less fast food than he did.
The old man is feeling better than he had.
This year, Kelly has more expenses than last year.
Eventually, he plans the best career choice for himself.
This is the worst game she has ever played.
Neptune is the farthest planet in the solar system.
Nauru is the least populated country in the world.
This novel has the best sci-fi fiction I have ever read.
Being loved is the most amazing experience that every person has not.

Frequently Asked Questions About Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

How to make a superlative sentence?

To make a superlative sentence in English, when comparing the sentence in terms of quality, by preceding with ‘’-the’’, you add ‘’-est’’ to the end of the adjective if an adjective with two or more syllables using ‘’the most or least’’ before the adjective.

How to make a comparative sentence?

In general rule, we add ‘’-er’’ into the adjective and after using the conjunction with “than’’ in order to make a comparison.

What is the difference between the comparative and the superlative adjectives?

Comparative adjectives describe a comparison in two things. Superlative adjectives are one thing to describe, superior to all the others of its kind.

What are the comparative and superlative forms of the irregular adjectives ?

For instance, the adjective of good: better and best. The adjective of bad: worse and worst The adjective of little: less and least. The adjective of well: better and best.

Comparative and Superlative Adjectives in English: Would you like to put into practice what you have learned about using Comparative and Superlative Adjectives? If you wish, you can explore over 20,000 interactive video lessons on EnglishCentral, improve your vocabulary, and practice pronunciation. Alternatively, during live 1-on-1 English lessons, you can review what you have learned with your personal English tutor. How about signing up for EnglishCentral and starting to learn English right away?

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