Comparatives and Superlatives

English Grammar Rules

We use Comparatives and Superlatives to compare two or more nouns.

The formation of the comparative and superlative depends on the number of syllables in the adjective:

One-syllable Adjectives

To form the comparative, we add -er to the end of the adjective.

To form the superlative, we add -est to the end of the adjective.


Adjective Comparative Superlative
small smaller the smallest
cold colder the coldest
light lighter the lightest
short shorter the shortest

Remember that comparatives are often followed by than.

  • London is bigger than Santiago.
  • Mike is taller than John but James is the tallest.

Two-syllable Adjectives ending in -Y

To form the comparative, we remove the -y and add -ier to the end of the adjective.

To form the superlative, we remove the -y and add -iest to the end of the adjective.

Adjective Comparative Superlative
crazy crazier the craziest
happy happier the happiest
early earlier the earliest

  • It was the happiest day of my life.
  • My joke was funnier than your one.

Adjectives with Two or more Syllables

For Adjectives with 2 syllables (that don't end in -y) and higher (3, 4 syllables etc), we use more for comparatives and the most for superlatives.

Adjective Comparative Superlative
handsome more handsome the most handsome
nervous more nervous the most nervous
enthusiastic more enthusiastic the most enthusiastic

  • My girlfriend is more beautiful than yours.
  • Alex is more intelligent than you but I am the most intelligent.

Irregular Forms

Adjective Comparative Superlative
good better the best
bad worse the worst
far further / farther the furthest / farthest

  • I am a better tennis player than you but Marcelo is the best.
  • Steve is a worse liar than me but Adrian is the worst.

Note: Further / farther, furthest / farthest are all used for distance.

Only Further / furthest are used to mean 'additional' or 'more advanced'.

  • Puerto Montt is further / farther than Valdivia is from here (in Santiago).
  • If you require further information, please contact reception.

Remember that the opposites of 'more' and 'most' are 'less' and 'least', respectively.




Next activity

If you would like to play an interactive game to practice Comparatives and Superlatives, visit here: Comparatives & Superlatives Game


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Last Updated: 05 November 2014
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