Comparative and superlative adjectives
Sometimes we want to compare two objects by their properties.
Study these examples
Edinburgh is a large city, but London is larger. In fact, London is the largest city in Europe.
Those shoes are comfortable. These shoes are even more comfortable. But my old shoes are the most comfortable.
Alan has a good score. But Maria's score is better. Scott has the best score.
To compare adjectives, we put them into the comparative or superlative forms. There are two ways to build these forms:
- by adding the suffixes -er, -est at the end of the adjective
- by adding the words more, most before the adjective without changing it
1. Adjective + -er/-est
We add -er и -est if the adjective belongs to one of the following groups:
- all one-syllable adjective (excluding the exceptions)
cold — colder — the coldest
rich — richer — the richest
deep — deeper — the deepest
- two-syllable adjectives ending in -y
cosy — cosier — the cosiest
easy — easier — the easiest
happy — happier — the happiest
- two-syllable adjectives ending in -er, -le, ow
clever — cleverer — the cleverest
tender — tenderer — the tenderest
simple — simpler — the simplest
noble — nobler — the noblest
narrow — narrower — the narrowest
Mind the spelling when adding -er, -est
1) doubling of the consonant
In short words with a vowel between two consonants, we must double the last consonant. Otherwise, we won't keep the pronunciation.
big → bigger → the biggest
sad → sadder → the saddest
hot → hotter → the hottest
2) y → i
If the adjective ends in -y, the letter y changes to -i
early — earlier — the earliest
sunny — sunnier — the sunniest
angry — angrier —the angriest
3) the silent "e" at the end is left out
close —closer — the closest
nice — nicer — the nicest
strange — stranger — the strangest
2. More/most + adjective
We add more and most to all other adjectives of more than 2 syllables.
careful — more careful — the most careful
expensive — more expensive — the most expensive
interesting — more interesting — the most interesting
The words good, bad and little are exceptions. We have to memorise their comparative and superlative forms:
good — better — the best
bad — worse — the worst
little — smaller — the smallest
The words far and old have two options of their comparative forms with a different meaning. Don't confuse them.
far — father — farthest about physical distance only
far — further — furthest in a broader meaning
This bus stop is farther from our house than that one.
Please consult your personal manager for any further information.
old — elder — eldest member of the family
old — older — older about things or people in general
I should ask my elder brother for advice.
Liam’s car is older than mine.
The + superlative
Adjectives in the superlative form need the definite article the.
It was the happiest day of my life.
It is the most expensive laptop on the market.
We often use the word than to compare two objects.
The new model is better than the old one.
The USA is bigger than Mexico.
If you have to put a pronoun after "than", you need to use the objective case (me, you, him, her, it, us, them).
He is cleverer than me.
Our neighbours are louder than us.
(Not) as … as
(Not) as + adjective + as means that the objects are (not) equal when we compare them by a certain property.
The second season of the series is as popular as the first one.
My score is not as good as yours.