Comparatives and Superlatives

Learn how to use comparative and superlative forms in English. In English we use the comparative form to compare two things. The superlative in English is used to speak about something of the highest order, quality or degree.

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Comparatives and Superlatives in English

Learn when and why use comparatives and superlatives in English!

We use the comparative when we compare two things.

We use the superlativewhen we speak about something of the highest order, quality or degree.

Learn how to use comparatives and superlatives in English for “short” adjectives!

When we have “short” adjectives, usually one or two syllables, we add “-er + than to form the comparative and “the + -est to form the superlative.

Examples of “short” adjectives are: big, small, large, hot, nice, cheap, long, tall…

Comparative:  -ER + THAN Superlative: THE + -EST
France is big.

A Honda Civic is small.

A cheeseburger is large.

The USA is bigger than France.

A Mini Cooper is smaller than a Honda Civic.

A double cheeseburger is larger than a cheeseburger.

Russia is the biggest country in the world.

A Smart Car is the smallest.

A Big Mac is the largest item on the menu.

**EXCEPTIONS:

1. If a word ends with a consonant-vowel-consonant, double the last letter (except if the word ends with a w, x, or z).

FOR EXAMPLE: Big = Bigger, Biggest,  Small = Smaller, Smallest, Hot = Hotter, Hottest.

2. If the adjective ends in “e”, just add “r” or ‘st’.

FOR EXAMPLE:  Large = Larger, Largest, Nice = Nicer, Nicest

Learn how to use comparatives and superlatives in English for “long” adjectives!

When we have “long” adjectives, usually two or more syllables, we add “more + than to form the comparative and “the + -most to form the superlative.

Examples of “long” adjectives are: fa/mous,  ex/pen/sive,   im/por/tant 

Comparative:  MORE + THAN

Superlative: THE + MOST

Berlusconi is famous.

A car is expensive.

A mayor is important.

Michael Jackson is more famous than Berlusconi.

A BMW is more expensive than a Honda.

A senator is more important than a mayor in the USA.

Marilyn Monroe was the most famous person in the 1960’s.

A Ferrari is the most expensive car in the world.

The president is the most important person in the USA.

**EXCEPTIONS:

1. If a word ends with a y, replace it with  ier in the comparative form, and –iest in the superlative form.

    FOR EXAMPLE: Pretty = Prettier, Prettiest    Easy = Easier, Easiest

Comparative and Superlative: Common Exceptions

Below are some of the common exceptions that don’t follow the rules above.

Adjectives:

Comparative:

Superlative:

Good: My test score is good.

Her test score is better than mine.

Ruth’s test score is the best in the class.

Bad:  The weather is bad.

Yesterday, the weather was worse than today.

Two days ago, the weather was the worst.

A little

Less than

The least

Many

More than

The most

Far

Further than / Farther than

The furthest / The farthest

Comparative & Superlative Exercises and Practice

Complete the sentences with the most appropriate comparative or superlative phrase of the adjective given.

1. Mary is  _______________________________ (lazy) student in the class.

2. Rob’s apartment is  _______________________________ (nice) mine.

3. Elephants are  _______________________________ (fat) camels.

4. Miami is   _______________________________ (superficial) city in the U.S.

5. Kim is   _______________________________ (small) of all my friends.

6. I think tornadoes are _______________________________ (bad) hurricanes because they occur

   more often and are much more unpredictable.

7. Laura speaks English  _______________________________ (good) Susan.

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