Unit 13: Flat pack skyscrapers
Comparatives and superlatives
Select a unit
- 1 Pop-ups
- 2 Hidden talents
- 3 Can't buy me love
- 4 Travellers' tales
- 5 The colleague from hell
- 6 Jurassic mystery: unpacking the past
- 7 Career changes
- 8 Art
- 9 Project management
- 10 The dog ate my homework!
- 11 The diary of a double agent
- 12 Fashion forward
- 13 Flat pack skyscrapers
- 14 Extreme sports
- 15 Food fads
- 16 Me, my selfie and I
- 17 Endangered animals
- 18 A nip and a tuck: cosmetic surgery
- 19 I'm really sorry...
- 20 Telling stories
- 21 Fakes and phrasals
- 22 Looking to the future
- 23 Becoming familiar with things
- 24 From rags to riches
- 25 Against the odds
- 26 Our future on Mars?
- 27 Where is it illegal to get a fish drunk?
- 28 Dodgy dating
- 29 Annoying advice
- 30 I'll have been studying English for thirty weeks
Meaning and use
We use comparative adjectives and adverbs to compare one person or thing with another person or thing.
Today is hotter than yesterday.
I think documentaries are more interesting than the news.
Can you drive faster? – I'm late.
My brother speaks more fluently than me.
We can repeat comparatives with and to say how something changes.
Train journeys in the UK are becoming more and more expensive.
The sky grew darker and darker and we knew the storm would break soon.
We can use two different comparatives with the to say how something changes as something else changes.
The faster they went, the louder they screamed.
The taller she grew, the thinner she became.
We use superlative adjectives and adverbs to compare one person or thing with several other people or things of the same kind.
September is the busiest month for our business..
Angelina Jolie was the highest paid actress last year.
Which student has worked the hardest this year?
We often use superlatives with the present perfect to talk about a particular life experience.
That was the funniest film I've seen this year.
He swam the fastest he has ever swum to win gold.
We make comparatives in two ways: by adding -er or by putting more in front of the adjective or adverb.
This hotel is cheaper than the one on the beach.
Life in the country is more peaceful than in the city.
Ali spoke more accurately than Khalid in the exam.
We usually use than with the comparative, but not always.
He's better than me at tennis.
Can you talk more quietly, please - I'm trying to work.
We make superlatives by adding -est or by putting most in front of the adjective or adverb.
It's the cheapest restaurant in town.
He spoke the most confidently in the final interviews.
We usually use the before the superlative, but we sometimes use a possessive adjective.
August is the quietest month in Paris.
December is our busiest time of year.
For adjectives and adverbs with one syllable, add -er in the comparative form, and
-est in the superlative form. If the adjective or adverb already ends in -e, then just add
-r (comparative) or -st (superlative).
Adjective/adverb: great nice fast
Comparative: greater nicer faster
Superlative: greatest nicest fastest
If an adjective ends in a vowel + consonant, double the last letter before adding
-er or -est (unless it ends in -w).
Adjective: big hot new
Comparative: bigger hotter newer
Superlative: biggest hottest newest
If an adjective or adverb has three or more syllables, use more in the comparative, and most in the superlative.
Adjective/adverb: expensive fluently
Comparative: more expensive more fluently
Superlative: most expensive most fluently
To form the comparative and superlative of some two-syllables adjectives, you can either add -er/-est or use more/most.
Adjective: quiet common pleasant
Comparative: quieter / more quiet commoner / more common pleasanter / more pleasant
Superlative: quietest / most quiet commonest / most common pleasantest / most pleasant
To form the comparative and superlative of two-syllable adjectives or adverbsthat end in -y, change the 'y' to 'i' before adding -er/-est.
Adjective/adverb: busy early
Comparative: busier earlier
Superlative: busiest earliest
Remember: irregular comparatives and superlatives
Some adjectives and adverbs have irregular comparative and superlative forms.
His cold has got worse since he went back to work.
It's the best film I've seen in a long time.
Adjective: good bad far little
Comparative: better worse further less
Superlative: best worst furthest least
Adverb: well badly
Comparative: better worse
Superlative: best worst
Take note: much/a lot
We use much or a lot before an adjective or adverb to emphasise the degree of comparison.
Shirley is much more popular than Janet.
This winter is a lot worse than last year.
I work much more effectively when I have a good night's sleep.
Take note: (not) as … as
To say that two things or people are similar in some way, use as + adjective/adverb + as.
Mario is as clever as his brother.
Juliana shouted as loudly as the others but the teacher didn’t choose her.
Idioms with (not) as … as
There are many set idioms in English which use as + adjective + as to make comparisons. These are often used in narrative texts to make writing more interesting and colourful.
He was as quiet as a mouse.
The material was as thin as ice.
Her hands were as warm as toast.
He ran as fast as the wind to escape.
When Anna heard the news, she turned as white as a sheet.
He picked her up and she was as light as a feather.
We can use not as/so + adjective + as to say that two things or people are not equal in some way.
Ishbel is not as talented as her sister.
The final wasn't so exciting as the semi-final.