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Comparative and superlative adjectives

Comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs

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The comparative form

We use the comparative form of the adjective to compare two things.

  • White meat is healthier than red meat.
  • Travelling by bus is more comfortable than travelling by train.

Less … than

We can also use the form less + adjective + thanLess is the opposite of more.

  • Peter is less considerate than Marta. (=Marta is more considerate)

(Not) as … as

We can also use the form (not) as + adjective + as.

  • Peter isn’t as considerate as Marta. (=Marta is more considerate)

Than me / than I am

After than or as … as, we use an object pronoun (me, you, him, etc.) or a subject pronoun (I, you, he, she, etc.) + auxiliary verb.

  • My sister is taller than me.
  • My sister is taller than I am.

Much/a lot/a bit more…

Before the comparative (more or -er), we can use much, a lot or a bit.

  • He’s a bit taller than me.
  • Florence is much more interesting than Pisa.
  • This car is a lot more expensive.

Any/no more than

We can use any/no + comparative (any better, no faster, any more expensive, etc.). We use any in negative sentences and no with positive verbs.

  • Your performance was no better than mine. 
  • Your performance wasn’t any better than mine. 

Superlative adjectives

We use the superlative form of an adjective or adverb to compare more than two things.

The most… in…

After the superlative, we use in + names of places or singular words for groups of people (class, school, team, family, etc.)

  • She is the best student of the class. blank
  • She is the best student in the class. blank
  • He’s the tallest in the family.
  • Messi is the best player in the world. 

We normally use of + periods of time or a number of people (of the year, of my life, of my brothers, of the students, etc.).

  • It was the best evening of my life
  • I am the tallest of my brothers.

The most… I have ever…

We often use the superlative with the present perfect tense and ever.

  • This is the best movie I’ve ever watched.
  • She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.

The/my/Tom’s best …

Before the superlative, we always use the, or my/your/his/etc., or Tom’s/Jenny’s/etc.

  • He is the best.
  • This is my most expensive jacket.
  • This is Paul’s best friend.

The least

The opposite of the most is the least

  • He is the least hardworking student in the class.

Comparing actions with adverbs

We can use the comparative or superlative form of adverbs to compare actions.

  • She drives fast, but I drive faster.
  • He plays well, but I play better than him.

With adverbs ending in –ly, you must always use more to form the comparative and most to form the superlative

  • She speaks quietlier than her boss. blank
  • She speaks more quietly than her boss. blank
  • He cooks well, but slowlier than his workmates. blank
  • He cooks well, but more slowly than his workmates. blank

For adverbs that have the same form as adjectives, the comparative and superlative forms are like adjectives: add –er to form the comparative and –est to form the superlative. The most common of these adverbs are: late-later, early-earlier, fast-faster, hard-harder, long-longer.

  • He works harder than me.
  • She always arrives earlier than her boss.
  • It took us longer than usual to arrive because of the traffic.