Comparative and Superlative Adjectives | Comparison of Adjectives 1

Comparative and Superlative Adjectives | Comparison of Adjectives

Comparative and Superlative Adjectives! Comparison of Adjectives in English! Learn comparatives and superlatives in English with ESL printable infographics, useful grammar rules and examples.

When we want to compare two or more nouns using adjectives, we use the comparative and superlative forms of the adjective to show the comparison between the nouns.

E.g. Honey is sweet, sugar is sweeter but victory is the sweetest.

In this sentence, we are comparing the three nouns using the positive, comparative and superlative forms of the word ‘sweet’.

Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

Positive Form

These are the simple adjectives that simply describe the noun without comparing it to another – big, sweet, clean, etc.

  • She has a big black dog.
  • He is a sweet boy.
  • The cupboard is clean.

Comparative Adjective

These are used when we are comparing two nouns and need to show which noun possesses the adjective or character in a greater or lesser amount, when compared with the other. – bigger, sweeter, cleaner, etc.

  • I have a big dog but hers is bigger.
  • He is sweeter than the other boys.
  • The cupboard is cleaner than before.

Superlative Adjective

This form is used when three or more nouns are being compared and we need to show that one or more of the nouns posses the adjective or characteristic to the highest amount possible. We usually add ‘the’ before the superlative form. – biggest, sweetest, cleanest, etc.

  • She has the biggest dog in the colony.
  • He is the sweetest boy in his class.
  • The cupboard is the cleanest thing in the house.

How to Make Comparative and Superlative

There are certain rules that must be followed in the making of the comparatives and superlatives of the adjectives. Not all adjectives form their comparatives and superlatives in the same way and there are also some irregular adjectives that form completely different comparative and superlative forms.

Comparison of Adjectives Rule #1

Single Syllable Words and Double Syllable Words ending with -y, -er, -ow, -le –

  • We use ‘-er’ to make the comparative and ‘-est’ to make the superlative.
Positive Comparative Superlative
Black Blacker Blackest
Fair Fairer Fairest
Clever Cleverer Cleverest
  • When there is a silent ‘e’ at the end of the positive form, we remove that and add ‘-er’ and ‘-est’
Positive Comparative Superlative
Nice Nicer Nicest
Late Later Latest
  • When the adjective ends with a ‘y’, we convert the ‘y’ into ‘i’ before adding ‘-er’ and ‘-est
Positive Comparative Superlative
Pretty Prettier Prettiest
Lazy Lazier Laziest
  • If the adjective is a small one with little stress on the vowel, we double the last consonant.
Positive Comparative Superlative
Hot Hotter Hottest
Wet Wetter Wettest

Comparison of Adjectives Rule #2

Other Words with Two or More Syllables

For other double syllable words that do not end with -y, -er, -ow, -le, and for adjectives with more than two syllables, we use more and most to form the comparatives and superlatives.

Positive Comparative Superlative
Difficult More Difficult Most Difficult
Careful More Careful Most Careful
Handsome More Handsome Most Handsome
Interesting More Interesting Most Interesting

Comparison of Adjectives Rule #3 (Special Adjectives)

There a few adjectives that can use both ‘-er and -est’ and ‘more’ and ‘most’ to form their comparative and superlative forms. The distinction between these is that ‘-er and -est’ are used when we are comparing the noun to another noun and ‘more’ and ‘most’ is used when we are comparing characteristics within the noun.

Positive Comparative Superlative
Clever Cleverer/ More Clever

E.g: He is cleverer than her.

Cleverest/Most Clever

E.g: He is more clever than studious.

Quiet Quieter/ More Quiet

E.g: This is the most quiet it gets here.

Quietest/ Most Quiet

E.g: This is the quietest place.

Brave Braver/ More Brave

E.g: She is braver than other girls.

Bravest/ Most Brave

E.g: She was more brave than afraid.

Sure Surer/ More Sure

E.g: He was surer of the result than others.

Surest/ Most Sure

E.g: You’ll be more sure about the concept after you read the chapter.

Comparison of Adjectives Rule #4 (Irregular Comparisons)

These adjectives do not make their comparative and superlative forms using the rules above. Their comparative and superlative forms are different words altogether.

Positive Comparative Superlative
Bad Worse Worst
Good Better Best
Far (place & time) Further Furthest
Far (place) Farther Farthest
Old (people) Elder Eldest
Little (amount) Less Least
Late (order) Latter Last

Comparison of Adjectives | Infographics

Comparative and Superlative Adjectives in English | Image 1

comparative and superlative adjectives

Comparative and Superlative Adjectives in English | Image 2

comparative and superlative adjectives

Comparative and Superlative Adjectives | Comparison of Adjectives 2

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