Writers Workshop: Writer Resources
Grammar Handbook: Comparatives and Superlatives
Comparative and Superlative
Comparative: the second or middle degree of comparison in adjectives or adverbs
Superlative: the third or highest degree of comparison in adjectives or adverbs
The comparative and superlative degrees are formed by adding the -er and -est suffix to adjectives and adverbs with a single consonant for an ending.
Adjectives and adverbs ending in -y drop the -y and add an -ier in the comparative degree and an -iest in the superlative degree:
Adjectives and adverbs ending in the silent or mute -e drop the ending -e and add the -er for the comparative and the -est for the superlative:
Degrees of comparison can also be distinguished with the use of "more" and "most": more clever; most clever.
Comparative adjectives are used to compare a noun to another noun such as this truck uses more gas than this car. Superlative adjectives are used to compare three or more nouns and show which is best such as hot, hotter and hottest.
Comparative and Superlative Adjectives
Here are examples of comparative and superlative adjectives that kids might enjoy and find familiar.
The adjective is listed first, followed by the comparative adjective and then the superlative adjective:
- Angry - angrier - angriest
- Anxious - more anxious - most anxious
- Big - bigger - biggest
- Brave - braver - bravest
- Bright - brighter - brightest
- Broad - broader - broadest
- Calm - calmer - calmest
- Cold - colder - coldest
- Cool - cooler - coolest
- Curly - curlier - curliest
- Dark - darker - darkest
- Dirty - dirtier - dirtiest
- Dull - duller - dullest
- Dry - drier - driest
- Early - earlier - earliest
- Easy - easier - easiest
- Embarrassed - more embarrassed - most embarrassed
- Evil - more evil - most evil
- Famous - more famous - most famous
- Fine - finer - finest
- Fresh - fresher - freshest
- Hard - harder - hardest
- Heavy - heavier - heaviest
- Immense - more immense - most immense
- Late - later - latest
- Light - lighter - lightest
- Long - longer - longest
- Lovely - lovelier - loveliest
- Nervous - more nervous - most nervous
- New - newer - newest
- Old - older - oldest
- Perfect - more perfect - most perfect
- Quick - quicker - quickest
- Rich - richer - richest
- Sad - sadder - saddest
- Simple - simpler - simplest
- Small - smaller - smallest
- Smart - smarter - smartest
- Soft - softer - softest
- Sweet - sweeter - sweetest
- Thin - thinner - thinnest
Adjectives with Irregular Forms
Some adjectives have irregular forms when made into comparative or superlative adjectives. They do not ads an “er” or “est” and they don’t add the words more or most. In fact, in some cases, a whole new word is used.
Here are some examples with the adjective first, then the comparative adjective and then the superlative adjective:
- Bad - worse - worst
- Good - better - best
- Far - farther - farthest
- Late - latter - last (order)
- Little - less - least
- Much - more - most
- Some - more - most
- Many - more - most
Sentences with Comparitive Adjectives
- My house is bigger than yours.
- Your grade is worse than mine.
- The Pacific Ocean is deeper than the Arctic Ocean.
- You are more polite than Joey.
- My brother is taller than me, but he is younger, too.
- A rose is more beautiful than a daisy.
- The Earth is larger in diameter than the moon.
- A pint is less than a quart.
- Learning Japanese is more difficult than leaning Italian.
- It is farther from New York to Austin than it is from New York to Nashville.
Sentences with Superlative Adjectives
- I can’t find my most comfortable jeans.
- The runt of the litter is the smallest.
- Jupiter is the biggest planet in our Solar System.
- She is the smartest girl in our class.
- This is the most interesting book I have ever read.
- I am the shortest person in my family.
- Jerry is the least worried about the game.
- That was the best movie ever.
- Sam is the most handsome boy in the whole school.
- Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
Now that you have seen some examples, check out a lesson plan you can use to teach comparative and superlative adjectives.