Comparatives And Superlatives


We use comparative adjectives and adverbs to compare one person or thing with another person or thing.

Today is hotter than yesterday.

I think documentaries are more interesting than the news.

Can you drive faster? – I'm late.

My brother speaks more fluently than me.


We can repeat comparatives with and to say how something changes.

Train journeys in the UK are becoming more and more expensive.

The sky grew darker and darker and we knew the storm would break soon.


We can use two different comparatives with the to say how something changes as something else changes.

The faster they went, the louder they screamed.

The taller she grew, the thinner she became.


We use superlative adjectives and adverbs to compare one person or thing with several other people or things of the same kind.

September is the busiest month for our business..

Angelina Jolie was the highest paid actress last year.

Which student has worked the hardest this year?


We often use superlatives with the present perfect to talk about a particular life experience.

That was the funniest film I've seen this year.

He swam the fastest he has ever swum to win gold.



We make comparatives in two ways: by adding -er or by putting more in front of the adjective or adverb.

This hotel is cheaper than the one on the beach.

Life in the country is more peaceful than in the city.

Ali spoke more accurately than Khalid in the exam.


We usually use than with the comparative, but not always.

He's better than me at tennis.

Can you talk more quietly, please - I'm trying to work.


We make superlatives by adding -est or by putting most in front of the adjective or adverb.

It's the cheapest restaurant in town.

He spoke the most confidently in the final interviews.


We usually use the before the superlative, but we sometimes use a possessive adjective.

August is the quietest month in Paris.

December is our busiest time of year.


For adjectives and adverbs with one syllable, add -er in the comparative form, and 

-est in the superlative form. If the adjective or adverb already ends in -e, then just add

-r (comparative) or -st (superlative).

Adjective/adverb: great     nice     fast

Comparative: greater     nicer     faster

Superlative: greatest     nicest     fastest

If an adjective ends in a vowel + consonant, double the last letter before adding 

 -er or -est (unless it ends in -w).

Adjective: big     hot     new

Comparative: bigger     hotter      newer

Superlative: biggest     hottest     newest 

If an adjective or adverb has three or more syllables, use more in the comparative, and most in the superlative.

Adjective/adverb: expensive     fluently

Comparative: more expensive     more fluently

Superlative: most expensive     most fluently 

To form the comparative and superlative of some two-syllables adjectives, you can either add -er/-est or use more/most.

Adjective: quiet     common     pleasant

Comparative: quieter / more quiet     commoner / more common     pleasanter / more pleasant

Superlative: quietest / most quiet     commonest / most common     pleasantest / most pleasant

To form the comparative and superlative of two-syllable adjectives or adverbsthat end in -y, change the 'y' to 'i' before adding -er/-est

Adjective/adverb: busy     early

Comparative: busier     earlier

Superlative: busiest     earliest 

Remember: irregular comparatives and superlatives

Some adjectives and adverbs have irregular comparative and superlative forms.

His cold has got worse since he went back to work.

It's the best film I've seen in a long time.

Adjective: good     bad     far     little

Comparative: better     worse     further     less

Superlative: best     worst     furthest     least


Adverb: well     badly

Comparative: better     worse

Superlative: best     worst


Take note: much/a lot 

We use much or a lot beforan adjective or adverb to emphasise the degree of comparison.

Shirley is much more popular than Janet.

This winter is a lot worse than last year.

I work much more effectively when I have a good night's sleep.


Take note: (not) as … as

To say that two things or people are similar in some way, use as + adjective/adverb + as.

Mario is as clever as his brother.

Juliana shouted as loudly as the others but the teacher didn’t choose her.


Idioms with (not) as … as

There are many set idioms in English which use as + adjective + as to make comparisons. These are often used in narrative texts to make writing more interesting and colourful.

He was as quiet as a mouse.

The material was as thin as ice.

Her hands were as warm as toast.

He ran as fast as the wind to escape.

When Anna heard the news, she turned as white as a sheet.

He picked her up and she was as light as a feather.


We can use not as/so + adjective + as to say that two things or people are not equal in some way.

Ishbel is not as talented as her sister.

The final wasn't so exciting as the semi-final.