Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

Comparatives and Superlatives  

Comparatives are used to show the difference between two objects.  Let’s say that I have two cars.  I have a little Toyota and a big Ford.  A comparative is used to show the difference between the two. The Ford is big so we can say “the Ford is bigger than the Toyota”.  Because the Toyota is small, we can say “The Toyota is smaller than the Ford”. To learn to use these we need to learn five basic rules.

Superlatives are used to show the difference between more than two objects.  Let’s say that I have three cars.  I have a little Toyota, a medium size Jeep and a big Ford.  A superlative is used to show the differences that exist in the group. The Ford is big so we can say “the Ford is the biggest”.  Because the Toyota is small, we can say “The Toyota is the smallest”. To learn to use these we need to learn five basic rules.


Let's review Comparative and Superlatives.

Slides 1 Slides 2Slides 3 

Forming Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

One-syllable adjectives.

Form the comparative and superlative forms of a one-syllable adjective by adding –er for the comparative form and –est for the superlative.
One-Syllable AdjectiveComparative FormSuperlative Form
talltaller thanthe tallest
oldolder thanthe oldest
longlonger thanthe longest
  • Mary is taller than Max.
  • Mary is the tallest of all the students.
  • Max is older than John.
  • Of the three students, Max is the oldest.
  • My hair is longer than your hair.
  • Max's story is the longest story I've ever heard.
If the one-syllable adjective ends with an e, just add –r for the comparative form and –st for the superlative form.
One-Syllable Adjective with Final -eComparative FormSuperlative Form
largelarger thanthe largest
wisewiser thanthe wisest
  • Mary's car is larger than Max's car.
  • Mary's house is the tallest of all the houses on the block.
  • Max is wiser than his brother.
  • Max is the wisest person I know.
If the one-syllable adjective ends with a single consonant with a vowel before it, double the consonant and add -er for the comparative form; and double the consonant and add –est for the superlative form.
One-Syllable Adjective Ending with a Single Consonant with a Single Vowel before ItComparative FormSuperlative Form
bigbigger thanthe biggest
thinthinner thanthe thinnest
fatfatter thanthe fattest
  • My dog is bigger than your dog.
  • My dog is the biggest of all the dogs in the neighborhood.
  • Max is thinner than John.
  • Of all the students in the class, Max is the thinnest.
  • My mother is fatter than your mother.
  • Mary is the fattest person I've ever seen.

Two-syllable adjectives.

With most two-syllable adjectives, you form the comparative with more and the superlative with most.
Two-Syllable AdjectiveComparative FormSuperlative Form
peacefulmore peaceful thanthe most peaceful
pleasantmore pleasant thanthe most pleasant
carefulmore careful thanthe most careful
thoughtfulmore thoughtful thanthe most thoughtful
  • This morning is more peaceful than yesterday morning.
  • Max's house in the mountains is the most peaceful in the world.
  • Max is more careful than Mike.
  • Of all the taxi drivers, Jack is the most careful.
  • Jill is more thoughtful than your sister.
  • Mary is the most thoughtful person I've ever met.
If the two-syllable adjectives ends with –y, change the y to and add –er for the comparative form. For the superlative form change the y to i and add –est.
Two-Syllable Adjective Ending with -yComparative FormSuperlative Form
happyhappier thanthe happiest
angryangrier thanthe angriest
busybusier thanthe busiest
  • John is happier today than he was yesterday.
  • John is the happiest boy in the world.
  • Max is angrier than Mary.
  • Of all of John's victims, Max is the angriest.
  • Mary is busier than Max.
  • Mary is the busiest person I've ever met.
Two-syllable adjectives ending in –er, -le, or –ow take –er and –est to form the comparative and superlative forms.
Two-Syllable Adjective Ending with -er, -le, or -owComparative FormSuperlative Form
narrownarrower thanthe narrowest 
gentlegentler thanthe gentlest
  • The roads in this town are narrower than the roads in the city.
  • This road is the narrowest of all the roads in California.
  • Big dogs are gentler than small dogs.
  • Of all the dogs in the world, English Mastiffs are the gentlest.

Adjectives with three or more syllables.

For adjectives with three syllables or more, you form the comparative with more and the superlative with most.
Adjective with Three or More SyllablesComparative FormSuperlative Form
generousmore generous thanthe most generous
importantmore important thanthe most important
intelligentmore intelligent thanthe most intelligent
  • John is more generous than Jack.
  • John is the most generous of all the people I know.
  • Health is more important than money.
  • Of all the people I know, Max is the most important.
  • Women are more intelligent than men.
  • Mary is the most intelligent person I've ever met.

Exceptions.

Irregular adjectives.
Irregular AdjectiveComparative FormSuperlative Form
goodbetter thanthe best
badworse thanthe worst
farfarther thanthe farthest
littleless thanthe least
manymore thanthe most
  • Italian food is better than American food.
  • My dog is the best dog in the world.
  • My mother's cooking is worse than your mother's cooking.
  • Of all the students in the class, Max is the worst.
Two-syllable adjectives that follow two rules. These adjectives can be used with -er and -est and with more and most.
Two-Syllable AdjectiveComparative FormSuperlative Form
clevercleverer thanthe cleverest
clevermore clever thanthe most clever
gentlegentler thanthe gentlest
gentlemore gentle thanthe most gentle
friendlyfriendlier thanthe friendliest
friendlymore friendly thanthe most friendly
quietquieter thanthe quietest
quietmore quiet thanthe most quiet
simplesimpler thanthe simplest
simplemore simple thanthe most simple
  • Big dogs are gentler than small dogs.
  • Of all the dogs in the world, English Mastiffs are the gentlest.
  • Big dogs are more gentle than small dogs.
  • Of all the dogs in the world, English Mastiffs are the most gentle.















2 comments:

  1. What a wonderful, straight forward and uncluttered explanation of this difficult concept. Keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great job! I agree with the above comment!

    ReplyDelete