Forming comparatives and superlatives

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Leitura

Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

One and two syllables

General rule

  • Comparative: add -er
  • Superlative: add -est
Adjective Comparative Superlative
tall taller the tallest
long longer the longest

Examples:

  • Sarah is taller than Josy.

  • Titanic is longer than Shrek.

  • Sarah is the tallest girl in our classroom.

  • Titanic is the longest movie I have ever seen.

If the adjective ends in e:

  • Comparative: add -r.
  • Superlative: add -st.
Adjective Comparative Superlative
nice nicer the nicest
large larger the largest

Examples:

  • Martha is nicer than Jake.

  • Brazil is larger than Argentina.

  • Martha is the nicest person I know.

  • Brazil is the largest country in South America.

If the adjective ends in CVC (consonant + single vowel + consonant), we double the final consonant and:

  • Comparative: add -er.
  • Superlative: add -est.
Adjective Comparative Superlative
big bigger the biggest
sad sadder the saddest

Examples:

  • Which animal is bigger than an elephant?

  • The song “Tears in heaven” is sadder than the song “Happy”.

  • What is the biggest animal in the world?

  • “Tears in heaven” is the saddest song I can remember.

If the adjective ends in consonant + y, change the y to an i and:

  • Comparative: add -er.
  • Superlative: add -est.
Adjective Comparative Superlative
happy happier the happiest
busy busier the busiest

Examples:

  • My wedding day was happier than this party.

  • Johnny is busier than me.

  • My wedding day was the happiest day of my life!

  • Johnny is the busiest person at the office.

Two and three or more syllables:

  • Put more / less (comparative) or the most / the least (superlative) in front of the adjective.
Adjective Comparative Superlative
beautiful more beautiful the most beautiful
perfect more perfect the most perfect
expensive more expensive the most expensive

Examples:

  • My daughter is more beautiful than his.

  • That artwork is more perfect than the one we saw yesterday.

  • We can’t fly first class. Those tickets are more expensive than the others.

  • My daughter is the most beautiful baby ever.

  • That’s the most perfect artwork I have seen.

  • We can’t fly first class. Those are the most expensive tickets.

List of two-syllable adjectives you can either add -er / -est, or put more / less or the most / the least in front of them

List of adjectives
common
narrow
cruel
pleasant
gentle
polite
handsome
simple
likely
stupid
  • This one is more simple than the other exercise.

  • This one is simpler than the other exercise.

  • Let’s ask Martin to speak to the principal. He is more polite than me.

  • Let’s ask Martin to speak to the principal. He is politer than here.

  • This is the most simple way to explain the exercise.

  • This is the simplest way to explain the exercise.

  • Let’s ask Martin to speak to the principal. He is the most polite person here.

  • Let’s ask Martin to speak to the principal. He is the politest person here.

Irregular comparatives and superlatives

Adjective Comparative Superlative
bad worse the worst
far farther / further the farthest / the furthest
good better the best
little less least
much more the most

Examples:

My grandma bakes better cookies than my mom.
Nothing works! This system is worse than the previous one!

My grandma bakes the best cookies.
Nothing works! This is the worst system I’ve ever worked with!

Now is your turn to practice!

Fill in the gaps using the comparative or superlative for each adjective. Don’t forget to share your answers in the comments!

  1. You always want to buy ________ (expensive) clothes in the store.
  2. I believe my speech was ________ (good) than his.
  3. John is ________ (nice) person I have ever met!
  4. I’m the middle child. Kyle is ________ (old) than me, and Paul is ________ (young).
  5. The blue whale is ________ (big) animal in the world.
  6. Let me help you. Your bag is ________ (heavy) than mine.
  7. I think math is ________ (difficult) than English.

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