English Grammar

Comparative and Superlative in English with illustrations

The Comparative and Superlative

The comparatives and superlatives in English are formed by putting the word “more” (more) and “the more” (the most) before the adjective: necessary (necessary) | more necessary | the most necessary. Comparative and Superlative in English

Comparatives and superlatives of inferiority are formed by putting “less” (less) and “least” (the less): necessary (necessary) | less necessary | the least necessary.

When the words are short, the ending “er” and “est” are added to the adjective.

Adjectives in the comparative degree

The comparative is used in English to compare differences between the two objects to which it modifies ( larger, smaller, faster, higher ). It is used in sentences where we compare two names, as follows:

Name (subject) + verb + adjective in comparative degree + than + name (object).

Adjectives in the superlative degree

The superlative is used to describe an object that is at the upper or lower end of quality ( the tallest, the smallest, the fastest, the highest ). It is used in sentences in which we compare a subject with a group of objects, like here:

Name (subject) + verb + the + adjective in superlative degree + name (object).

Formation of regular comparatives and superlatives

In English, it is simple to form the comparative and the superlative of most adjectives. The form will depend on the number of syllables in the adjective. Comparative and Superlative in English

ADJECTIVES OF A SYLLABLE

Add -er for the comparative and -est for the superlative. If the adjective ends in consonant + vowel + consonant, the last consonant must be repeated before adding the ending.

Adjective Comparative Superlative
tall workshop tallest
fat fatter fattest
big bigger biggest
sad sadder saddest

TWO SYLLABLE ADJECTIVES

The adjectives of two syllables can form the comparative by adding -er , like the adjectives of a syllable, or by placing more in front of the adjective, as with those of three syllables. Likewise, these adjectives can form the superlative by adding the ending -est or by putting most in front of the adjective. In many cases both forms are used, although one of the uses will be more common than the other. If we are not sure that an adjective can take the comparative or superlative terminations, it is better to use more and most . When an adjective with two syllables ends in y , it must be changed to i before adding the termination.

Adjective Comparative Superlative
happy happier happiest
simple simpler simplet
busy busier busiest
tilted more tilted most tilted
tangled more tangled most tangled

ADJECTIVES OF THREE SYLLABLES OR MORE

Adjectives of three syllables or more form the comparative by placing more before the adjective and the superlative by placing most .

Adjective Comparative Superlative
important more important most important
expensive more expensive most expensive

COMPARATIVES AND IRREGULAR SUPERLATIVES

Some very common adjectives have irregular shapes in the comparative and superlative grades.

Adjectives Comparatives Superlatives
good better best
bad worse worst
little less least
much more most
far further / farther furthest / farthest

Examples of regular comparatives and superlatives

No. Adjective Comparative Superlative
1 angry angrier angriest
2 bad worse worst
3 big bigger biggest
4 bitter bitterer bitterest
5 black blacker blackest
6 bossy bossier bossiest
7 brave braver bravest
8 brief briefer briefest
9 bright brighter brightest
10 broad broader broadest
eleven busy busier busiest
12 calm calm down calmest
13 cheap cheaper cheapest
14 clean cleaner cleanest
fifteen clear clear clearest
16 clever cleverer cleverest
17 close closer closest
18 cloudy cloudier cloudiest
19 clumsy clumsier clumsiest
twenty cold colder coldest
twenty-one cool cooler coolest
22 crazy crazier craziest
23 creepy creepier creepiest
24 crispy crispier crispiest
25 cruel crueler cruel

Comparative and Superlative in English

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