Comparative and superlative of adjectives

What are comparative adjectives?

Take a look at these sentences:

  • Martin is old. He’s older than his sister.
  • Neptune is big. It’s bigger than Earth.
  • Apple iPhones are expensive. They’re more expensive than most other phones.

Old, big, expensive are adjectives.
Older, bigger, more expensive are comparative forms.

What are superlative adjectives?

For examples of superlative forms, let’s look at these sentences:

  • Jack is the oldest person in the village.
  • Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system.
  • The Beatles are probably the most popular band of all time.

The oldest, the biggest, the most popular are superlative forms.

Rules for forming comparatives and superlatives

Comparative, superlative adjectives: rules
Adjective type Adjective Comparative Superlative
Short adjectives (one syllable) old, long older, longer the oldest, the longest
Adjectives ending in one vowel + one consonant big, hot bigger, hotter the biggest, the hottest
Two-syllable adjectives ending in -y ugly, noisy, messy uglier, noisier, messier the ugliest, the noisiest, the messiest
Longer adjectives (with two or more syllables) careful, expensive, beautiful more careful, more expensive, more beautiful the most careful, the most expensive, the most beautiful
With some two-syllable adjectives both -er and -est endings and more / most are possible. polite, common more polite / politer, more common / commoner the most polite / the politest, the most common / the commonest
With some two-syllable adjectives only an -er or -est ending is possible. narrow, simple, clever narrower, simpler, cleverer the narrowest, the simplest, the cleverest

Notable exceptions
good better the best
bad worse the worst
far further / farther the furthest / the farthest

Comparative adjectives and opposites

Here’s a list of some comparative adjectives and their opposites:

Adjective ➝ comparative Opposite adjective ➝ comparative
old ➝ older young ➝ younger
cheap ➝ cheaper expensive ➝ more expensive
slow ➝ slower fast ➝ faster
hot ➝ hotter cold ➝ colder
warm ➝ warmer cool ➝ cooler
rich ➝ richer poor ➝ poorer
large ➝ larger small ➝ smaller
high ➝ higher low ➝ lower
interesting ➝ more interesting boring ➝ more boring
safe ➝ safer dangerous ➝ more dangerous
comfortable ➝ more comfortable uncomfortable ➝ more uncomfortable
strong ➝ stronger weak ➝ weaker
wide ➝ wider narrow ➝ narrower
clever ➝ cleverer stupid ➝ more stupid
deep ➝ deeper shallow ➝ shallower
good ➝ better bad ➝ worse
near ➝ nearer far ➝ further
(also farther)
tidy ➝ tidier untidy ➝ more untidy
(also untidier)
happy ➝ happier unhappy ➝ more unhappy
(also unhappier)

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Practise this grammar

Comparatives and superlatives exercise (1) >> (elementary level)

Comparatives and superlatives exercise >> (intermediate)

2 Comments

  1. Leona - November 21, 2015, 8:40 am Reply

    The page is very nice to understanding! Excellent

  2. David - May 18, 2016, 5:10 pm Reply

    Very lovely and interesting activities to learn from

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