Introduction: Adjectives and adverbs can be used to make comparisons. They are used to show what is different or similar about two or more things. There are three kinds of possible comparisons: equal, comparative and superlative.

Learning Hint:
Forming the comparative and superlative forms usually depends on the number of syllables in the adjective. Learn the rules for each type of adjective and adverb. Do not combine the two ways of forming comparisons in a single sentence.


Comparative adjectives compare two things. Superlative adjectives compare more than two things


Commonly, adjectives that contain only one syllable or end in 'y' use 'er' to form comparatives and 'est' to form superlatives. For adjectives ending in y, change the 'y' to 'i' before adding the 'er' or 'est'.

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.
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 — highcheap
  • Comparative — 'er' is added — highercheaper
  • Superlative — 'est is added — highestcheapest
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.
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.



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