Comparatives and Superlatives: Learn English Grammar

Comparatives and Superlatives

In this blog post we look at how to use comparatives and superlatives to describe things and people.

Look at the following sentences:

Comparatives:

Who do you think is funnier? Pete or Sally?

I found the first book much more interesting than the second.

John is friendly but I think Jane is friendlier.

Houses in London are more expensive than anywhere else in the UK.

Superlatives:

 Julie is the oldest student in her class.

We think he is the funniest comedian we have ever seen.

Who made the most delicious cake?

Houses in London are the most expensive in the UK.

How to form comparatives

Generally, to show the comparative we use ‘adjective + er’ for words with one syllable. For words with more than one syllable we use ‘more + adjective’; the adjective does not change e.g. more interesting

 Nice – nicer

Brave – braver

Hot – hotter

Cold – colder

Adjectives ending in ‘y’ have a different rule.  We remove the ‘y’ and add ‘ier’.

Silly – sillier

Crazy – crazier

Lovely – lovelier

Another way to show comparison is to use ‘as ….. as’; the adjective does not change form.

Peter is as funny as Fatima.

Sarah is as nice as Pablo.

This hotel is not as clean as the hotel we stayed in last year.

Our new manager is not as friendly as our old manager.

How to form superlatives

To show the superlative we use ‘adjective + est’ for words with one syllable.  We use ‘most + adjective’ for words with more than one syllable.

For adjectives ending in ‘y’, remove the y and add ‘iest’: happy/happiest, crazy/craziest

Short – shortest

Tall – tallest

Adventurous – most adventurous

Interesting – most interesting

Lovely – loveliest

Friendly – friendliest

Some words are irregular: good – best, bad – worst, far – farthest,

Old becomes oldest.  However, when talking about family members we use eldest.

We normally use ‘the’ before the superlative:

The nicest teacher, the friendliest dog, the most comfortable chair, the coldest room, the most expensive hotel, the richest man, the cheapest car.

We put ‘in’ after the superlative:

 ‘in’ with places – ‘The cleanest hotel in the UK.’

‘Russia is the biggest country in the world.’

‘The Tower of London is the most popular tourist attraction in London.’

‘in’ with companies, organisations, groups of people – The friendliest employee at Microsoft.

John is the most helpful man in the company.

He is the most hard-working student in the class.

‘of’ for periods of time – It was the best day of my life!

He said it was the tastiest cake of all.

 We often use the present or past perfect after a superlative: We thought it was the funniest film we had seen all year.

We use ‘ever’ sometimes if we are talking about our whole lives: You are the nicest person I have ever met!

Irregular adjectives

good – better –  best

bad – worse – worst

well (healthy) – better

far – farther/further – farthest/furthest

a little – less – the least

Quick Quiz: What are the comparative and superlatives to the following adjectives?

(answers at the end)

Good

Scary

Amazing

Sad

Rich

Pretty

Successful

Painful

Jokes using comparatives and superlatives!

Question: What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries?

Answer: A towel

 

Question: Which fish is the most famous?

Answer: The star fish!

 

Question: What’s the nicest vegetable?

Answer: The sweet potato

 

 Answers to the Comparatives and Superlatives Quick Quiz

Good – better – best

Scary – scarier – scariest

Amazing – more amazing – most amazing

Sad – sadder – saddest

Rich – richer – richest

Pretty – prettier – prettiest

Successful – more successful – most successful

Painful – more painful – most painful

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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