Better and better, more and more: repeating comparative adjectives to show change

Let’s take a look at the way English repeats comparative adjectives to describe a continuous change.

Change can happen to different degrees:

  • just once, moderately – The temperature fell yesterday.
  • dramatically – Sales of iPhones rocketed last year.
  • a lot / a little – My English improved quite a lot during the course.

In the three examples above we have used verbs (fell, rocketed, improved) to show the change. However, when we want to express continuous (and often big) change, we can use two comparatives adjectives separated by and.

Take a look at these examples:

  • My uncle grew fatter and fatter over the years.
  • As Microsoft grew, Bill Gates got richer and richer.
  • The balloon got bigger and bigger and then burst.

In each example above we used a comparative adjective (fatter, richer, bigger), followed by and, and then repeated the comparative.

‘More and more’ for longer comparatives

We don’t repeat comparative adjectives that are used with more; we simple say more and more:

  • Things are getting more and more expensive.
  • This books gets more and more interesting with every chapter.
  • He spoke for over an hour and his explanation got more and more complicated.

Here’s a short quiz for you to test yourself. And don’t forget – keep visiting Speakspeak.com and your English will get better and better!

Instructions:
Change the adjective in brackets into a comparative and use and to express continuing change:

questions go herescore goes here

Stuart is an English teacher and runs the Speakspeak website. He currently lives in Prague and has been teaching for over 20 years. See all posts by Stuart

11 Comments

  1. fatemeh - May 16, 2013, 5:08 am Reply

    Dear Cook
    thx thx thx for your useful and summerize grammer lesson.
    that was great
    fatemeh

  2. sam - June 13, 2013, 9:41 am Reply

    As I haven’t visited SPEAK.COM nor GPLUS my english got worse and worse

    • Stuart Cook - June 16, 2013, 8:54 pm Reply

      Nice example, Sam. At least you know what you’re doing wrong!

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Alessandro Cusatis - June 27, 2013, 8:32 am Reply

    Hi Stuart,
    I’ve found this lesson very useful!!! Can I ask a question?
    Could you tell me where I can find some examples about how to write formal and informal emails and letters?
    I would be very grateful
    Alessandro

  4. penda - March 17, 2015, 12:05 am Reply

    Dear, Stuart
    I am an English Teacher in Senegal and I was looking for how to title this kind of coparative.
    thanks for your help

  5. Olga_Albuquerque - October 28, 2015, 3:54 pm Reply

    Hi, thanks for this course. However, I still have a doubt and I would really appreciate if you could help me on this. Is it possible to say the following sentence “Our environmental project has become more and more interesting?” I would say “is becoming” but I am not sure if the Present Perfect is also correct in this situation.
    Best,
    Olga

    • Stuart Cook - October 29, 2015, 5:25 pm Reply

      Hi, Olga
      Both “has become more and more interesting” and “is becoming more and more interesting” are correct; it depends on the context. Here are two examples:

      Our environmental project has become more and more interesting in the last few months.
      Our environmental project is becoming more and more interesting every month.

      • Olga Rute - October 29, 2015, 5:41 pm Reply

        Thank you very much.
        Best,
        Olga

  6. Laura Schmitt - December 15, 2016, 2:01 pm Reply

    Hy, first thanks for this helpful lesson !
    I have a question for this sentence :
    “While it’s not for every business, more and more are offering sabbaticals as a retention tool by giving their employees paid leave to travel, volunteer or simply to take time off to recharge their batteries.”
    “more and more” is employed here with a name not an adjectiv. Is it a comparative or not ?

    Thanks for any help,

    Laura.

    • Stuart Cook - February 2, 2017, 9:26 pm Reply

      In such cases more is a determiner or pronoun.

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