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Comparatives and Superlatives


Forming regular comparatives and superlatives

  1. We use comparatives to compare two things or two people. (e.g She is taller than her husband.)
  2. Superlatives are used, however, to compare to show the difference between more than two things or more than two people. (e.g Paris is the biggest city in France)
  3. To form comparatives and superlatives you need to know the number of syllables in the adjective. Syllables are like "sound beats".

For instance:

  • "find" contains one syllable,
  • but "finding" contains two — find and ing.

The rules to form comparatives and superlatives:

1. One syllable adjective ending in a silent 'e' — nice

  • Comparative — add 'r' — nicer
  • Superlative — add 'st' — nicest

2. One syllable adjective ending in one vowel and one consonant — big

  • Comparative — the consonant is doubled and 'er' is added —bigger
  • Superlative — the consonant is doubled and 'est' is added—biggest

3. One syllable adjective ending in more than one consonant or more than a vowel — high, cheap

  • Comparative — 'er' is added — higher, cheaper
  • Superlative — 'est is added — highest, cheapest

4. A two syllable adjective ending in 'y' — happy

  • Comparative — 'y' becomes 'i' and 'er' is added — happier
  • Superlative — 'y' becomes 'i' and 'est' is added — happiest

5. Tow syllable or more adjectives without 'y' at the end exciting

  • Comparative more + the adjective + than more exciting than
  • Superlative more + the adjective + than the most exciting

Examples:

  • The Nile River is longer and more famous than the Thames.
  • Egypt is much hotter than Sweden.
  • Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
  • This is one of the most exciting films I have ever seen.
boy
baby
Peter (6 years old)
Charley (5 months old)
Peter is older than Charley.
Charley is younger than Peter.

Irregular comparatives and superlatives

Adjectives Comparatives Superlatives
bad worse worst
far(distance) farther farthest
far(extent) further furthest
good better best
little   less least
many more most
much more most

How to use comparatives and superlatives

Comparatives Superlatives
Comparatives are used to compare two things or two people:
Alan is taller than John.
Superlatives are used to compare more than two things or two people. Superlative sentences usually use 'the':
Alan is the most intelligent.

Similarities

To express similarities use the following structure:

... as + adjective + as ...

Examples:

  • Mike is as intelligent as Nancy.
  • Larry is as popular as Oprah.

Exercises on comparatives and superlatives.

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