Adverbial Degrees in English

Adverbial Degrees in EnglishWhich adverbs compare by ‘more/most’ and which by ‘-er/est’. Comparative adverbial constructions.

Adverbs compare almost the same as adjectives. But only gradable adverbs (that is those which may be modified) have comparative and superlative degrees. So there’re no comparatives for adverbs like sometimes, never, there, now, almost.

Comparison Degrees

Regular adverbs and a few others have degrees. Regular adverbs are derived from adjectives and end in –ly. They take 1st-type comparisons.

Adjectival adverbs (those equaling corresponding adjectives) are few (long, late, early, fast, soon, hard, near). They take 2nd-type comparisons.

Comparatives often follow with than-clauses while superlatives often follow with that-clauses. With superlatives not determined by nouns/clauses the is optional.

degrees positive comparative superlative
regular adverbs adverb more/less + adverb most/least + adverb
adjectival adverbs adverb adverb+er adverb+est
irregular adverbs badly















quickly – more quickly – most quickly

fast – faster – fastest

She drives more carefully than he does.

He started to work even more hurriedly.

I think she works the hardest of us all.

He helps me less than he used to.

This is the best burger that I’ve ever tasted.

I think this one is (the) best.

Comparative Turns

  • (not) as / so + adverb + as

I can’t speak English as well as you can.

It’s not as terribly as you thought.

Grandad doesn’t get about so easily as he used to.

  • comparative adverb + and + comparative adverb

It’s happening more and more regularly.

The score grew bigger and bigger.

Double Comparatives

Double comparatives with the denote parallel results when something comes from something else.

the + comparative adverb, the + comparative adverb/adjective

The higher you climb, the harder you fall.

The more we discuss it, the less I understand it.

Superlative Adverbs

Instead of superlatives which are quite rare we often use comparative adverbs + than ever, anyone, anything

You can do the job better than anyone can.

Adverb Enough

Enough comes before nouns/pronouns but after adjectives/adverbs.

cold enough, loudly enough

We’ve had enough meat.

I’ve had enough of this.

It’s a fast enough train.

It’s not good enough for me.

He was speaking slowly enough for us to understand him.