Comparative adjectives are used to compare differences between the two objects they modify; they are used in sentences where two nouns are compared.
Superlative adjectives are used to describe an object which is at the upper or lower limit of a quality; they are used in sentences where a subject is compared to a group of objects.
A. Comparative and superlative adjectives (and adverbs) – regular form
A.1. To form the comparative of a short adjective or adverb we add –er + than:
Keith is taller than Bob.
Bob’s house is grander than mine.
Mike ran faster than Tom.
A.2. To form the superlative we add the… – est to the adjective (or adverb):
Sally is the tallest girl in the class.
This pair of shoes is the cheapest in the shop.
If the short adjective (or adverb) ends in a single vowel and a consonant we double the consonant and add –er or –est:
hot – hotter – the hottest
mad – madder – the maddest
If an adjective (or an adverb) ends in a consonant and an –e we add –r or –st:
large – larger – the largest
fine – finer – the finest
If the adjective (or adverb) has two syllables and ends in a consonant sound, we usually use more or (the) most:
serious – more serious – the most serious
patient – more patient – the most patient
But if it ends in a vowel sound or l or r sound, we usually add –(e)r, –(e)st:
little – littler – the littlest
yellow – yellower – the yellowest
If the adjective ends in –y we change it to –i and add –er or –est:
pretty – prettier – the prettiest
ugly – uglier – the ugliest
But if an adverb ends in –ly we add more or the most before it:
sadly – more sadly – the most sadly
quickly – more quickly – the most quickly
If the adjective (or adverb) has more than two syllables we add more for the comparative, and the most for the superlative:
exciting – more exciting – the most exciting
monotonous – more monotonous – the most monotonous
Note: If we want to say that the difference between two things is very great we use much or far + comparative:
Lennie runs much faster than I do.
She is far fitter than me.
B. Comparative and superlative adjectives (and adverbs) – irregular forms
Many of the most common adjectives (and adverbs) have irregular comparative and superlative forms:
good – better – the best well – better – the best
bad – worse – the worst badly – worse the – worst
far – further/ farther – the furthest/ farthest old – older/ elder – the oldest/ eldest
Let’s practise! :)
attractive beautiful big cheap comfortable crazy crowded exciting expensive interesting large lively luxurious modern noisy old old-fashioned peaceful quiet relaxing
Look at the pictures of the three hotels and compare them, using comparative and superlative forms of the adjectives in the box, plus any other adjectives you can think of.
Autor: Ana-Maria Hănţoiu, trainer A_BEST de limba engleză