In many languages, some adjectives are comparable – comparison of adjectives. For example, a person may be “intelligent”, but another person may be “more intelligent”, and a third person may be the “most intelligent” of the three. The word “more” here modifies the adjective “intelligent” to indicate a comparison is being made, and “most” modifies the adjective to indicate an absolute comparison (a superlative).
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Three forms of comparison of adjectives in English
Positive: it is an ordinary form of adjectives
Comparative: shows when two persons or objects being compared
Superlative: indicates that the quality or quantity is at its highest or is most intense
- Comparative are used to describe people and things.
– My car is fast but John’scar is faster
– Emily is tall but Sophia is taller
– I need a bigger car
- “Than” is used to compare one thing with another.
– Henry is older than Tom
– Emily is smarter than Sophia
– The second test was easier than the first one
- “The” is used with a superlative:
– Where Are the Tallest Buildings in the World?
– Harry is the tallest student in this class
- “As…as” is used to compare the attributes of two things that are equal
– Emily is as tall as Sophia
– The first test is as easy as the second one.
General rules in forming comparison of adjectives
There are basic rules in forming the degrees of comparison:
- For one-syllable adjective, add –er to form comparative and –est for superlative.
- clear / clearer / clearest,
- dark / darker / darkest
- For most two-syllable adjectives, add –er for comparative and – est for superlative.
- simple / simpler / simplest,
- gentle / gentler / gentlest
- For three or more syllables, always use more and most to form the comparative and superlative.
- creative / more creative / most creative
- Some adjectives end with a consonant letter y, change y to I and add –er or -est.
- busy / busier / busiest,
- merry / merrier / merriest
- Some adjectives end with a single vowel and single final consonant letter. Double the final consonant and add –er/-est.
- thin / thinner / thinnest,
- fat / fatter / fattest
- When the adjectives end in “e”, add –r for the comparative and –st for superlative
- wise / wiser / wisest,
- simple / simpler / simplest
- Irregular comparisons of adjectives are compared irregularly
- good / better / best
- ill / worse / worst
Rules for forming comparatives
Rules for forming superlatives
Forming comparatives, superlatives and equatives
Notes for irregular comparison of adjectives
- Far / Farther than / the Farthest
- Far / Further than / the Furthest
Farther and Farthest generally refer to distance
Further and Furthest also refer to distance but they may have the meaning of “additional”
“I live farther from here than you do”
“Give me further details”
- Old / Older than / the Oldest
- Old / Elder than / the Eldest
Older and Oldest refer to persons or things;
Elder and Eldest can only be used for members of the same family
“My elder brother is afraid of mice”
“My older friend is afraid of dog”
but Elder cannot be placed before Than so Older is used:
“My brother is two years older than I am”