Comparative Adjectives in English

Comparative Adjectives in English An American English teacher explains how to use comparative adjectives. 3 patterns and their exceptions.

The comparative form for adjectives shows the difference between 2 things. The teacher has 2 tomatoes – a big and a small one. To describe their difference, he can say the left (to us) tomato is bigger. So the other tomato is smaller.

big → bigger

This tomato is bigger than this cherry tomato.

small → smaller

This tomato is smaller than this larger tomato.

He has 2 cameras: one is cheap (bought 6 years ago for about 20 dollars) and the other is expensive (at about 4,000 dollars).

cheap → cheaper

expensive → more expensive

Comparative sentences often have the word than.

This camera is more expensive than this camera.

Comparative Rules

1-syllable adjectives 2-syllable adjectives ending in -y 2+-syllable adjectives
big → bigger

small → smaller

old → older

noisy → noisier

busy → busier

interesting → more interesting

Short (1-syllable) adjectives become comparative synthetically – by adding the –er ending. Most long (2+-syllable) adjectives become comparative analytically – by taking the word more before them. You can’t say more cheap. Some Americans mistakenly say more cheaper. In comparative adjectives we also double end consonants preceded by short vowels. 1st-type comparable adjectives in –y change it to –i-.

Irregular Comparatives

Some irregular adjectives don’t follow these rules.

good → better

This movie is better than the 1 we saw last week.

bad → worse

A hamburger is worse for you than a salad.

fun → more fun