One syllable adjectives
- Comparative: add ER (cheaper)
- Superlative: add EST (the cheapest)
One syllable adjectives ending in E
- Comparative: add R (nicer)
- Superlative: add ST (the nicest)
One syllable adjectives ending in consonant – vowel – consonant
- Comparative: add consonant + ER (hotter)
- Superlative: add consonant + EST (the hottest)
Two syllable adjectives ending in Y
- Comparative: replace Y with IER (happier)
- Superlative: replace Y with IEST (the happiest)
Two or more syllable adjectives
- Comparative: add MORE / LESS (more/less beautiful)
- Superlative: add THE MOST / THE LEAST (the most/least beautiful)
- good – better – the best
- bad – worse – the worst
- far – further – the furthest
Equality and inequality
- as + adjective + as
- not as + adjective + as
- much / a lot / far / a little / a bit / slightly + comparative adjective
- by far / easily / nearly + superlative adjective
- Comparative adjectives are used to compare two things.
- John is thinner than Bob.
- It’s more expensive to travel by train than by bus.
- My house is smaller than my friend’s house.
- Superlative adjectives are used to compare one thing with the rest of the group it belongs to.
- John is the tallest in the class.
- He’s the best football player in the team.
- This is the most expensive hotel I’ve ever stayed in.
- as + adjective + as is used to say that two things are equal in some way.
- He’s as tall as me.
- Jim’s car is as fast as mine.
- not as + adjective + as is used to say that two things are not equal in some way.
- Jim’s car is not as fast as mine.
- Comparatives can be repeated to say that something is changing.
- These exams are getting worse and worse every year.
- She gets more and more beautiful every time I see her.
- Comparatives can be modified with much, a lot, far, a little, a bit, slightly.
- Bob is much richer than I am.
- My mother’s hair is slightly longer than mine.
- Superlatives can be modified with by far, easily, nearly.
- Mario’s is by far the best restaurant in town.
- I’m nearly the oldest in the class.
- The is not used with the superlative if there is a possessive.
- His strongest point is his ambition.
- If the second part of a comparative or superlative sentence is clear from what comes before or from the context, we can omit it.
- Going by bus is very fast, but the train is more comfortable.
See the phonemic chart for IPA symbols used below.
- than after a comparative is pronounced with a schwa in connected speech. “He is taller than me”: /tɔːlə ðən/.
- -est in superlative adjectives is pronounced /ɪst/.
- as when talking about equality (or inequality) is pronounced with a schwa: “He’s not as tall as me”: /əz tɔːl əz/.