Interesting Things for ESL/EFL Studens
English Grammar in Easy English
Comparative Adjectives
By Charles Kelly

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<< | Adjectives | Superlative Adjectives >>

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Be careful not to make these common mistakes.

  • Don't make double comparatives.
    • Today is more hotter than yesterday.

How to Make a Comparative Adjective

  • If the adjective is 1 syllable, then ...
    • If the adjective ends with the letter "e", then ...
      • add "r" to the end of the word.
        • nice => nicer
        • safe => safer
    • If the adjective ends with a consonsant, then ...=
      • If the letter before the last letter is also a consonant, then ...
        • Add "er" to the end of the word.
          • high => higher
      • Else (Otherwise)
        • Double the last cosonant and add "er".
          • tall => taller
          • big => bigger
          • small => smaller
  • If the adjective is 2 syllables, then ...
  • If the adjective is 3 or more syllables, then ...

Comparative Adjectives

There are two ways to make comparative adjectives.

One Syllable Adjectives

We add "er" to the end of one-syllable adjectives.

  • Add r
    • nice => nicer
    • safe => safer
    • cute => cuter
    • OTHERS: wide, fine
  • Double the Final Consonant: ll, gg, etc.
    • tall => taller
    • big => bigger
    • small => smaller
    • OTHERS: thin, sad, red, bad, fat
    • EXCEPTIONS: Words that end with 2 or more consonants: full => fuller, smart => smarter, light => lighter, OTHERS: low, slow, new
      • cold => colder
      • soft => softer
      • OTHERS: rich, strong, old, young
    • EXCEPTIONS: Words that end in a vowel sound: high => higher
    • EXCEPTIONS: Words that end with 2 vowels plus a consonant: cheap => cheaper, neat => neater, fast => faster
  • Change "y" to "ier".
    • dry => drier
    • scary => scarier
    • merry => merrier
    • OTHERS: dreary

Two Syllable Adjectives

For two-syllable adjectives ending in "y," we change the "y" to "ier."

  • pretty => prettier
  • angry => angrier
  • lovely => lovelier
  • OTHERS: happy, early, crazy, silly, pretty, muddy, heavy, sunny, busy, lucky, tiny, healthy, easy, lazy, tidy, lively, empty
  • EXCEPTIONS: shy => shyer, sly => slyer

For a two-syllable adjective that end in a non-stressed vowel sound, we usually use "er."

  • yellow => yellower
  • narrow => narrower
  • simple => simpler

We put the word "more" in front of many two syllable adjectives.

  • famous => more famous
  • boring => more boring
  • OTHERS: modern, honest, common, handsome, distant, precious, pleasant

Adjectives with Three or More Syllables

We put the word "more" in front of most two-syllable adjectives and all longer adjectives.

  • expensive => more expensive.
  • beautiful => more beautiful
  • OTHERS: difficult, delicious, important, comfortable, complicated

Irregular Comparatives

  • The ones we use every day are:
    • good => better
    • bad => worse
  • Others:
    • far => further / farther

Some Adjectives Can Use Either Form

  • quiet => quieter / more quiet (The author prefers "quieter.")
  • clever => cleverer / more clever (The author prefers "more clever.)
  • OTHERS: narrow, simple

Other

stupid, funny

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Page last modified on March 29, 2007, at 12:47 PM
Copyright © 2007 by Charles Kelly