What Are Comparative and Superlative Adjectives?
Imagine we have three men standing next to one another. Each of them has a different height. We want to describe their heights and compare them with one another. To do that, we must use superlative and comparative adjectives. Comparatives deal with a matter of superior quality, while superlatives talk about superior quality to all others.
Comparative and Superlative Adjectives: Types
Based on how to make an adjective superlative or comparative, we categorize them into three groups.
- Type I: monosyllable adjectives
- Type II: multisyllable adjectives
- Type III: irregular adjectives
Type I: Monosyllable Adjectives
Type I adjectives have only one syllable. What is a syllable?
Based on pronunciation, a word is divided into different parts. Each of these parts must contain one vowel sound. We call each divided part a syllable.
Here are some examples of the monosyllable adjectives:
Type I: Comparative Adjectives
When we have a monosyllable adjective, we can make it a comparative adjective by simply adding the suffix '-er' to the adjective. A comparative adjective compares two things/people/places.
Spelling Rules for Comparative Adjectives
As you can see in the examples above, there are some spelling changes when we are forming a comparative adjectives. Here are some of the rules you must know:
- If the adjective ends in '-e,' add '-r.'
- If the adjective ends in a consonant-vowel-consonant, double the final consonant and add '-er.'
big → bi
wet → we
mad → ma
- If the adjective ends with a consonant + '-y,' change '-y' to '-i,' then add '-er.'
There are some exception for these rules. For example, some monosyllable adjectives end in '-y' do not change their '-y' to '-i.'
Type I: Superlative Adjectives
A superlative adjective compares one thing/person/place to all the others in the same group. We can form a comparative by adding the suffix '-est' to the monosyllable adjectives. The important thing is the article 'the'.
Spelling Rules for Superlative Adjectives
As you can see in the examples above, there are some spelling changes when we are forming a superlative adjectives. Here are some of the rules you should know:
- If the adjective ends in '-e,' add '-st.'
- If the adjective ends in a consonant-vowel-consonant, double the final consonant and add '-est.'
big → the bi
wet → the we
mad → the ma
- If the adjective ends with a consonant + -y, change -y to -i, then add -est.
Type II: Multisyllable Adjectives
Type II adjectives have more than one syllable. We can divide type II adjectives into two categories:
- multisyllable adjectives
- multisyllable adjectives ending in -y
Type II: Comparative Adjectives
When we have a multisyllable adjective, we can make it a comparative adjective by using the determiner 'more' + adj.
For multi-syllable adjectives ending in -y, we can make it a comparative adjective by changing -y to -i, then adding the suffix -er.
When we have a multi-syllable adjective, we use the word 'less' to modify a noun as having a lower amount of quality when comparing two things.
These flowers are
I'm searching for a
Type II: Superlative Adjectives
When we have a multi-syllable adjective, we can make it a superlative adjective by using the determiner 'most' in the structure 'the + most + adj.'
For multi-syllable adjectives ending in -y, we can make it a superlative adjective changing -y to -i, then add the suffix -est.
Using The Least
When we have a multi-syllable adjective, we use the word 'least' to modify a noun as having the lowest amount of quality.
She is my
I am looking for the
Type III: Irregular Adjectives
Irregular adjectives do not follow the rules we discussed earlier in this lesson. You have to memorize the comparative and superlative forms of them.
In the table below, you can see the irregular adjectives in the English language:
|far (extent)||further||the furthest|
|far (distance)||farther||the farthest|
|little (amount)||less||the least|
The Preposition 'Than'
'Than' is a preposition that is used to introduce the second part of a comparison.
Ben is taller
Lisa is prettier
The first question is more difficult
Other than comparison, we can use comparative adjectives to:
- show how something or someone changes
We can use two comparatives with 'and' to demonstrate how something or someone is changing. For example:
The percentage got
Everything is getting
- show the dependency of thing on another
We can use comparative adjectives with 'the' to describe that one thing depends on another. Look at some examples:
To make comparisons between people or things, we have no choice but to use comparative and superlative adjectives. There are three types of each which were discussed in detail throughout the article.
|type 1||type 2||type 3|
My husband is
My mother is
The yellow dress is
My husband is
My mother is
- What Are Comparative and Superlative Adjectives?
- The Preposition 'Than'