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 SuperlativePin

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

Superlative Adjective 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 Exercise

Comparison of Adjectives | Chart

Comparative and Superlative Adjectives in English | Image 2

comparative and superlative adjectivesPin

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of comparative and superlative adjectives?

Comparative adjectives are used to compare two things, while superlative adjectives are used to compare three or more things. Some examples of comparative adjectives are “bigger,” “faster,” and “more interesting.” Some examples of superlative adjectives are “biggest,” “fastest,” and “most interesting.”

What are the rules for forming comparative and superlative adjectives?

The rules for forming comparative and superlative adjectives depend on the number of syllables in the adjective. For one-syllable adjectives, you usually add “-er” for the comparative form and “-est” for the superlative form. For two-syllable adjectives ending in “-y,” you change the “y” to an “i” and add “-er” or “-est.” For two-syllable adjectives not ending in “-y” and for adjectives with three or more syllables, you add “more” for the comparative form and “most” for the superlative form.

How do you use comparative and superlative adjectives in a sentence?

To use comparative and superlative adjectives in a sentence, you need to compare two or more things. For example, you can say “This book is more interesting than that book” or “This is the most interesting book I’ve ever read.”

What is the difference between a comparative and a superlative adjective?

A comparative adjective is used to compare two things, while a superlative adjective is used to compare three or more things. The comparative form usually ends in “-er,” while the superlative form usually ends in “-est” or uses “most.”

Related Resources:
Order of Adjectives Possessive Adjectives
Coordinate Adjectives Compound Adjectives
Demonstrative Adjectives Predicate Adjective
Superlative Adjective Descriptive Adjectives
Interrogative Adjectives Comparative and Superlative Adjectives
Adjective Clause Adjective Phrase
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3 years ago

thanks for providing such a nice material

3 years ago
Reply to  marcela

Shut the hell up.

3 years ago

Hate is not an adjective and hatest does not exist

3 years ago
Reply to  Ana

elder and eldest is also not used exclusively…at least in the States we say older and oldest more often actually. As trainers we have to be so careful with these esl sites. I see too many mistakes by people who are called teachers. As a bilingual pedagogue who is not allowed to teach because the ministry says I am not qualified (only have 25 years of experience), I really try to keep my cool. Last ingenious phrase: I don’t have got. (yes, that was on a exercise sheet for the final exam for 10th graders….by Cornelson….quite embarassing….so please, make sure… Read more »

Last edited 3 years ago by Pate
Shawnakay Bryan
Shawnakay Bryan
3 years ago


3 years ago

I’m thankful for this important and amazing information you have given me thank you really I mean it this is so important to me

1 year ago


7 months ago

Thanks to my teacher I have learned a lot about Comparatives & Superlatives.

7 months ago

hi i love k-pop

Luis M
Luis M
1 month ago

I don’t understand what you mean with the endings: -er, -ow, -le- . Those ending for the original adjectives?

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