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Comparative Adjectives

What is an example of a comparative adjective? How do you use comparative adjectives? What is the difference between comparative and superlative adjectives?

Degrees of Adjectives – Positive – Comparative


1) An adjective is a word or set of words that modifies (i.e. describes) a noun or pronoun. Adjectives may come before or after the word they modify.

This is a cute cat. This cat is cute.
2) Most adjectives can show degree of quality or quantity by forming two degrees of comparison: the comparative degree and the superlative degree. These degrees are formed from the positive degree, which is the usual form of adjectives.

This is a tall building.
This building is taller than that one.
This is the tallest building.

Comparative adjectives are used to compare differences between the two objects they modify. When forming the comparative degree follow the pattern noun/pronoun (subject) + verb + comparative adjective + than + noun/pronoun (object).

My room is larger than Jake’s.

The second item of comparison can be omitted if it is clear from the context that something is being compared to something else.

If you start working out you’ll get thinner. (=You’ll get thinner in comparison to your past self.)

Comparative adjectives with one syllable are normally formed by adding -er to the adjective.

smart – smarter

If an adjective has a consonant + single vowel + consonant spelling, the final consonant must be doubled before adding -er.

big – bigger

Adjectives ending in constant + -y change -y to -i and add -er.

dry – drier
Adjectives with two syllables can form the comparative either by adding -er or by preceding the adjective with more.

happy – happier

tangled – more tangled

In many cases, both forms are used, although one usage will be more common than the other. If you are not sure whether a two-syllable adjective can take a comparative ending, use more instead.

Adjectives with three or more syllables form the comparative by preceding the adjective with more.

beautiful – more beautiful

Some adjectives do not follow any of the rules explained earlier. They are compared irregularly. Here are the most common irregular adjectives.

the best
the worst
the farthest/furthest
the least
the most

The superlative degree will be covered in the following lesson.

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