Explanations » B2 Grammar Explanations » Comparative structures – modifying comparatives
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  • Modifying comparatives

    Colourful grammar chart titled 'Modifying Comparatives' showcasing examples of comparative phrases used to describe varying degrees of difference: almost no difference, big difference, and small difference. The phrases include 'not quite as tall as his brother,' 'much cheaper than I thought,' and 'a bit colder than I prefer' categorized in red, blue, and yellow sections respectively.

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    When we are comparing things in English, we can use modifiers to describe different degrees of difference. For example, you can describe your brother as taller than you, but if the difference in height is big, you can say that he is much or far taller than you.

    Describing a big difference

    Quite/much/a lot/far/way/a good deal

    We can use quite, much, a lot, far, way or a good deal with comparative adjectives.

    • This dress is quite cheaper than the one I saw yesterday.
    • It’s much hotter today than it was yesterday.
    • He’s a lot less experienced than his brother.
    • The journey to the city is far longer than I anticipated.
    • This project is way more complicated than the last one.
    • This new phone is a good deal more expensive than the previous model.

    Nowhere near/not nearly/not at all  as … as

    We can also modify the comparative form as + adjective + as to describe a big difference. To do this, we can add nowhere near, not nearly, or not at all before the first as.

    • The new restaurant is nowhere near as crowded as the one downtown.
    • She’s not nearly as experienced as she claims to be.
    • This book is not at all as interesting as the one I read last week.

    By far + superlative

    We can use by far with superlative adjectives to emphasise the greatest difference among a group.

    • This is by far the best pizza I’ve ever tasted.
    • He is by far the most talented musician in the band.

    Describing a small difference

    A bit/a little/slightly/not much

    We can use a bit, a little, slightly, not much with comparative adjectives to describe small differences.

    • This shirt is a bit less expensive than the one I bought last month.
    • It’s a little warmer today than yesterday.
    • The coffee is slightly colder than I prefer.
    • This option is not much cheaper than the one I suggested. 

    Describing no difference or almost no difference

    Almost, nearly, not quite, roughly, more or less, just, exactly as … as / the same as

    We can use the modifiers almost, nearly, not quite, roughly, more or less, just, or exactly before the structure as + adjective + as or before the same as to describe an (almost) inexistent difference.

    • She’s almost as tall as her brother.
    • He’s nearly as fast as Mike in running races.
    • The flavour of this dish is not quite as spicy as I expected.
    • The distance to the beach is roughly the same as to the park.
    • The party was more or less as boring as I’d expected.
    • I’m just/exactly as capable as you are. 

    Using modifiers with nouns

    We can also make comparisons using more or less with nouns instead of adjectives:

    • I have more games than you. 
    • They owe less money than we thought. 

    In these cases, we can also use modifiers.

    • I have far more games than you.
    • They owe much less money than we thought.
    • She has a lot more experience than her colleague.
    • She has only a little more time than I do.
    • There is not much more traffic today than there was yesterday.
    • He has slightly more food left than his friend.
    • She has not quite as many friends as she used to.
    • We have roughly the same number of cars as our neighbours.