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.
1. 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||Add -r: wider, finer, cuter||Add -st: 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||Add -er: lighter, neater, faster||Add -est: 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|
2. 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”.
|Superlatives||Superlatives are used to compare more than two things. Superlative sentences usually use “the”, because there is only one superlative.