Degrees of Comparison of English Adjectives
This lesson is about the formation of comparative and superlative degrees with examples for each of the cases
The comparative degree of adjectives is used to compare the qualities of a certain object in English. The English adjectives could be used in a comparative or superlative form. We use the comparative degree of adjectives when we want to emphasize that an object is superior compared to the other.
The formation of the comparative degree
1. The comparative degree is formed by adding the “-er” ending to the single-syllable adjectives.
- fast – faster
- simple – simpler
- John runs faster than Ann.
- This task is simpler than the previous one.
2. If the adjective ends with a vowel and a consonant, then the consonant is doubled.
- Big – bigger;
- Thin – thinner;
- My house is bigger than yours.
- Black copybook is thinner than the green one.
3. The comparative degree of two-syllable words ending with the “y” is also formed by adding the “-er” ending, while the “y” letter is changed to “i”.
- Early – earlier;
- Easy – easier.
4. The comparative degree of multi-syllable adjectives is formed by using the word “more”, which is placed before the adjective.
- More expensive;
- More comfortable;
- My computer is more expensive than yours.
- This sofa is more comfortable than the chair.
5. The comparative degree of adverbs ending in “-ly” is also formed by the word “more”.
- Carefully – more carefully;
- Seriously – more seriously;
- She uses computer more carefully than earlier.
- They study English more seriously than they used to.
6. For a two-syllable adjectives such as ‘quiet’, ‘clever’, ‘narrow’, ‘shallow’, ‘simple’ we can use both the word “more” or the “-er” ending.
Some adjectives and adverbs are exceptions:
|Good/well – better
Bad/badly – worse
Far – further
- This book is better.
- Your answer was worse than yesterday’s.
7. The superlative degree of adjectives is formed by the “-est” ending for the one-syllable words and with a word “more” for multi-syllable words.
You have to remember that there must always be the definite article before the adjective in the superlative degree.
- Long – the longest;
- Hot – the hottest;
- Easy – the easiest;
- Difficult – the most difficult;
- Expensive – the most expensive;
- Famous – the most famous;
- Today is the hottest day of the month.
- This hotel is the most expensive in the city.
- This poet is the most famous in his family.
- This task is the easiest one in the book.
8. The superlative degree of the adjectives “good”, “bad”, “far” is an exception:
- The best, the worst, the furthest.
Please note the following sentences:
- This theatre is the eldest building in the city.
- His eldest son is 15 years old.
The use of adjectives in the comparative and superlative forms
Oftentimes, the degrees of comparison of adjectives are used in the following sentences:
What is the longest river in the world?
What is the best room in the hotel?
John is the cleverest student in our class.
What is the happiest day of your life?
Today is the coldest day of this winter.
What is the most interesting film you have ever seen?
This dish was the most delicious I have ever tasted.
Let’s go by bus. It is much cheaper.
Don’t go by plain. It is a lot more expensive.
Can you speak a bit more slowly?
This book is slightly more interesting than the other one.
This teacher is far more serious than he seemed at first.
Video for beginners showing pictures with the basic English adjectives:
tall-short, fat-slim, young-old, happy-sad: