Mastering Comparative Adjectives in English with Examples

Comparative adjectives are an essential part of language that enables us to compare two or more things. Whether we want to express the difference in size between two animals or the similarity in personality between two people, comparative adjectives help us to convey the degree of difference or similarity between them.

In this article, we will explore the concept of comparative adjectives, their various types, and how they can be used effectively in writing and speech. So, let’s embark on a journey into the world of comparative adjectives and discover how they can elevate our language.

Understanding Comparative Adjectives

Comparative AdjectivesPin

Comparative adjectives are a type of adjective used to compare two things or show change. They are used to describe how one thing is different from another thing. When we compare two things, we use comparative forms of adjectives.

Comparative adjectives can be formed in different ways depending on the number of syllables in the adjective. For adjectives with one syllable, we usually add -er to the end of the adjective. For example, “old” becomes “older,” “clean” becomes “cleaner,” and “slow” becomes “slower.” If the adjective ends in -e, we just add -r.

For adjectives with two or more syllables, we use the word “more” or “less” before the adjective to form the comparative. For example, “beautiful” becomes “more beautiful” and “interesting” becomes “more interesting.”

Comparative adjectives can also be formed using irregular comparative forms. For example, “good” becomes “better,” “bad” becomes “worse,” and “far” becomes “farther” or “further.”

Forming Comparative Adjectives

One-Syllable Adjectives

1. When dealing with one-syllable adjectives, the comparative form is typically created by adding -er to the end of the adjective. For example:

  • old – older
  • clean – cleaner
  • slow – slower

2. If the adjective ends in -e, simply add -r:

  • safe – safer
  • nice – nicer

3. For adjectives that end in a vowel followed by a consonant, the consonant is usually doubled before adding -er:

  • big – bigger
  • hot – hotter

Two-syllable Adjectives

1. With most two-syllable adjectives, you form the comparative with more or less.

Examples:

  • honest – more honest
  • famous – more famous

2. If the two-syllable adjectives ends with –y, change the y to i and add –er for the comparative form.

Examples:

  • happy – happier
  • crazy – crazier

3. Two-syllable adjectives ending in –er, le, orow take –er to form the comparative forms.

Examples:

  • narrow – narrower
  • gentle – gentler

Adjectives with Three or More Syllables

Add more or less to adjectives that has 3 or more syllables.

Examples:

  • expensive – more expensive
  • difficultless difficult

Irregular Comparative Adjectives

Irregular adjectives are adjectives that do not follow the standard pattern when forming their comparative and superlative forms. Instead of adding “-er” or “-est” to the base form of the adjective, irregular adjectives change in a different way to indicate a comparison. Some examples of irregular adjectives are: 

  • good – better
  • bad – worse
  • far – farther
  • little – less
  • many – more

NOTE: When comparative adjectives are used, the word “THAN” appears after the adjective.

Common Errors in Comparative Adjectives

Incorrect Formation

One common error with comparative adjectives is the incorrect formation of the comparative form. To form a comparative adjective, add “-er” for one-syllable adjectives and use “more” or “less” before multi-syllable adjectives. For example, “fast” becomes “faster” and “beautiful” becomes “more beautiful.” Mixing these two forms may result in errors like “fastest” instead of “more fast” or “beautifuler” instead of “more beautiful.”

Double Comparisons

Another issue is double comparisons, where both “-er” and “more” are used in the same adjective. Examples of this error include “more faster” or “more easier.”

To correct this error, use either “-er” or “more” but not both.

Misuse of Irregular Comparative Adjectives

Misuse of irregular comparative adjectives is another common mistake. Some adjectives have irregular comparative forms, like “good” which becomes “better” and “bad” which becomes “worse.” Using regular comparative forms for these irregular adjectives can lead to errors like “gooder” instead of “better” or “badder” instead of “worse.”

Additional Errors

Additional errors may include:

  • Not using “than” when comparing two items: Correct usage is “This car is faster than the other one,” not “This car is faster the other one.”
  • Using the wrong form of an adjective for comparison: Use the comparative form when comparing two items, not the base or superlative form. For example, avoid saying “This car is fastest than the other one” or “This car is fast than the other one.”
  • Comparing non-quantifiable adjectives: Some adjectives cannot be compared, such as “unique” or “perfect.” Attempting to create comparative forms for these words can lead to errors like “more unique” or “more perfect.”

Examples of Comparative Adjectives

Examples in Context

Here are some examples which illustrate how comparative adjectives can be used in different contexts:

  • This autumn has been colder than any other one I can remember!
  • That dress is nicer than mine!
  • Bigger isn’t always better – my new phone fits perfectly in my pocket even though it’s smaller than my previous one!
  • Tom’s decision-making skills were much quicker than mine!
  • This dessert tastes sweeter than I thought it would!

List of Comparative Adjectives

List of affirmative and comparative adjectives in English.

Examples of Comparative Adjectives
Affirmative Comparative
slow slower 
fast faster
cheap cheaper
clear clearer
loud louder
new newer
rich richer
short shorter
thick thicker
old older
tall taller
large larger
wide wider
wise wiser
nice nicer
big bigger
fat fatter 
fit fitter 
polite more polite 
helpful more helpful 
useful more useful 
obscure more obscure
hungry hungrier 
happy happier 
pretty prettier 
heavy heavier 
angry angrier 
dirty dirtier 
funny funnier 
narrow narrower 
shallow shallower 
humble humbler/more humble
gentle gentler/more gentle
clever cleverer/more clever
interesting more interesting 
comfortable more comfortable 
beautiful more beautiful 
difficult more difficult 
dangerous more dangerous 
expensive more expensive 
popular more popular 
complicated more complicated 
confident more confident 
good better 
bad worse 
far farther 
little less 
much/many more 
stupid more stupid/stupider

Forming Comparatives | Images

Comparative Adjectives | Forming ComparativesPin

Comparative Adjectives!!! Learn how to use and form Comparatives in English with useful grammar rules and example sentences. Pin

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we form the comparative of an adjective?

To form the comparative of an adjective, follow these rules:

  • For one-syllable adjectives, add -er: clean → cleaner, slow → slower.
  • For adjectives ending in -e, add -r: safe → safer, nice → nicer.
  • For adjectives ending in a vowel plus a consonant, usually double the consonant: big → bigger, hot → hotter.
  • For two-syllable adjectives ending in -y, change -y to -i and add -er: noisy → noisier.
  • For adjectives with two or more syllables, add the word more before the adjective: more expensive, more interesting.

When should we use comparative adjectives?

Use comparative adjectives when comparing two things, people or qualities. They help express the difference between the two. For example: This apple is sweeter than that one. His car is faster than mine.

What are some irregular comparative adjectives?

Some adjectives have irregular comparative forms that do not follow the general rules of adding -er or more to adjectives. Examples include: good → better, bad → worse, far → farther/further.

How can we compare two things using adjectives?

When comparing two things using adjectives, use the comparative form of the adjective followed by the word than. For example: This cake is tastier than that one. Her computer is more advanced than his.

What is the difference between comparative and superlative forms?

Comparative forms describe the difference between two items, while superlative forms indicate the highest or lowest degree among three or more items. For example: His coat is warmer than mine (comparative); This is the warmest coat (superlative).

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