Comparison of Adjectives in English

Degrees of comparison refers to adjectives being written in different forms to compare one, two or more nouns which are words describing persons, places and things.


The three different forms of comparison are the positive, the comparative and the superlative

  • The positive is the form of the adjective that describes one noun. 
  • The comparative form of the adjective compares two nouns. 
  • The superlative form of the adjective compares more than two nouns.

1. The Comparative Form of Adjectives

The comparative form is used to compare two people, ideas, or things.

1. Adjectives with one syllable:

1.1. Usually add "er"

  • Fast => faster
  • Cheap => cheaper
  • Clear => clearer
  • loud => louder
  • new => newer
  • rich => richer
  • short => shorter
  • thick => thicker
  • old => older
  • tall => taller
  • slow => slower

1.2. Ending in –e: add “r”           

  • large => larger
  • wide => wider
  • wise => wiser
  • nice => nicer

1.3. Ending in a vowel + a consonant: double the consonant, add "er"               

  • big      => bigger
  • fat      => fatter
  • fit      => fitter

2. Adjectives with two syllables and the following endings:

2.1 Two syllables not ending in -y, -ow, -le, -er: more + adjective               

  • polite => more polite
  • helpful => more helpful
  • useful => more useful
  • obscure => more obscure

2.2. Some two-syllable adjectives, especially ending in –y: y => i, add "er"     

  • hungry => hungrier
  • happy => happier
  • pretty => prettier
  • heavy => heavier
  • angry => angrier
  • dirty => dirtier
  • funny => funnier

2.3. Some two syllable adjectives ending in –ow: add "er"

  • narrow => narrower
  • shallow => shallower

2.4. Some two syllable adjectives ending in –o: add "r"             

  • humble => humbler
  • gentle => gentler

2.5. Some two syllable adjectives ending in –er: add "er"       

  • clever => cleverer

3. Adjectives with three syllables or more: more + adjective        

  • interesting => more interesting 
  • comfortable => more comfortable
  • beautiful => more beautiful 
  • difficult => more difficult 
  • dangerous => more dangerous
  • expensive => more expensive 
  • popular => more popular 
  • complicated => more complicated
  • confident => more confident

How to use the Comparative form in Sentences:

  • He is taller than me.
  • This puzzle is easier than the last one.
  • The book was more interesting than the film.

2. The Superlative Form of Adjectives

The superlative is used to say what thing or person has the most of a particular quality within a group or of its kind.  

1. Adjectives with one syllable:

1.1. Usually add "est"

  • Fast => fastest
  • Cheap => cheapest
  • Clear => clearest
  • loud => loudest
  • new => newest
  • rich => richest
  • short => shortest
  • thick => thickest
  • old => oldest
  • tall => tallest
  • slow => slowest

1.2. Ending in –e: add “st”           

  • large => largest
  • wide => widest
  • wise => wisest
  • nice => nicest

1.3. Ending in a vowel + a consonant: double the consonant, add "est"               

  • big => biggest
  • fat => fattest
  • fit => fittest

2. Adjectives with two syllables and the following endings:

2.1 Two syllables not ending in -y, -ow, -le, -er: most + adjective               

  • polite => most polite
  • helpful => most helpful
  • useful => most useful
  • obscure => most obscure

2.2. Some two-syllable adjectives, especially ending in –y: y => i, add "est"     

  • hungry => hungriest
  • happy => happiest
  • pretty => prettiest
  • heavy => heaviest
  • angry => angriest
  • dirty => dirtiest
  • funny => funniest

2.3.Some two syllable adjectives ending in –ow: add "est"

  • narrow => narrowest
  • shallow => shallowest

2.4.Some two syllable adjectives ending in –o: add "st"             

  • humble => humblest
  • gentle => gentlest

2.5. Some two syllable adjectives ending in –er: add "est"       

  • clever => cleverest

3. Adjectives with three syllables or more: most + adjective        

  • interesting => most interesting 
  • comfortable => most comfortable
  • beautiful => most beautiful 
  • difficult => most difficult 
  • dangerous => most dangerous
  • expensive => most expensive 
  • popular => most popular 
  • complicated => most complicated
  • confident => most confident

How to use the Superlative form in Sentences:

  • He was the tallest boy in the class.
  • This puzzle is the easiest in the whole book.
  • It’s the most interesting book I’ve ever read.


3. The Positive Form of Adjectives

The positive form is used in cases where there are no differences between the two compared things or persons. To form the positive, we use the word as before and after the absolute form of the adjective.

For Examples

  • as short as
  • as polite as
  • as friendly as

How to use the Positive form in Sentences:

  • Reading is as enjoyable as writing.
  • The results were as conclusive as in previous studies.
  • Finding participants for the study was not as easy as I thought.
  • Her level of expertise was not as extensive as her employer had hoped.


4. Irregular Forms in Comparison of Adjectives

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Comparison of Adjectives in English

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