Comparatives and Superlatives are special forms of adjectives. They are used to compare two or more things. Generally, comparatives are formed using -er and superlatives are formed using -est. This page will explain the rules for forming regular comparatives and superlatives, and also show some basic ways of using them.
Forming comparatives and superlatives
How these forms are created depends on how many syllables there are in the adjective. Syllables are like “sound beats”. For instance, “sing” contains one syllable, but “singing” contains two — sing and ing. Here are the rules.
|Only one syllable, ending in E.
Examples: wide, fine, cute
wider, finer, cuter
widest, finest, cutest
|Only one syllable, with one vowel and one consonant at the end.
Examples: hot, big, fat
|Double the consonant, and add -ER:
hotter, bigger, fatter
|Double the consonant, and add -EST:
hottest, biggest, fattest
|Only one syllable, with more than one vowel or more than one consonant at the end.
Examples: light, neat, fast
lighter, neater, faster
lightest, neatest, fastest
|Two syllables, ending in Y.
Examples: happy, silly, lonely
|Change Y to I, then add -ER:
happier, sillier, lonelier
|Change Y to I, then add -EST:
happiest, silliest, loneliest
|Two syllables or more, not ending in Y.
Examples: modern, interesting, beautiful
|Use MORE before the adjective:
more modern, more interesting, more beautiful
|Use MOST before the adjective:
most modern, most interesting, most beautiful
How to use comparatives and superlatives
|Comparatives||Comparatives are used to compare two things. You can use sentences with THAN, or you can use a conjunction like BUT. Examples:
|Superlatives||Superlatives are used to compare more than two things. Superlative sentences usually use THE, because there is only one superlative. Examples: