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:
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.
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!
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)
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