Session 2

Let's find out more about Broadcasting House and focus on the language used to describe the changes that have taken place there (comparative adjectives) and also some of the features that make the building unique (superlative adjectives)

Wayiitiwwan marii boqonnaa kana keessaa

Wayitii marii qabxii 2

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Activity 1

Newest, largest and bigger

Comparatives and superlatives explained

Barreeffama kana dubbisii shakala kana xumuri

New Broadcasting House was a very large project for the BBC. In fact, it was the largest project in the history of the BBC. Look again at some of these facts from Session 1 and look carefully at the words in bold:

  • New Broadcasting House provides a better working environment for BBC staff.
  • This is now the BBC's largest creative hub in the UK.
  • The redevelopment of Broadcasting House involved the BBC's biggest relocation of staff in its 90 year history.
  • New Broadcasting House is a 12-storey extension that's connected to the original smaller home of the BBC.
  • There are many TV and radio studios using some of the latest technology.
  • It's busier than ever but there are plenty of places to meet and talk to colleagues.

These are all examples of comparative and superlative adjectives.

Comparative adjectives tell us how something is different (the original smaller home of the BBC) or how something has changed (It's busier than ever).

Look at these other examples. How do we form comparative adjectives?:

  • The BBC News Service is now faster than ever.
  • This redevelopment took place to meet higher demand for BBC services.
  • New Broadcasting House is bigger than the previous building.
  • Due to 24-hour programming and online services, the BBC is much busier than it was 20 years ago.

In most cases, we add –er to the adjective to form a comparative (large - larger, fast - faster).

If the adjective finishes with a consonant-vowel-consonant pattern (like ‘big’), the final consonant is doubled when –er is added (big - bigger, fat - fatter).

If the adjective ends with a consonant + y, we change the y to an i (busy - busier, funny - funnier).

We use ‘than’ to make a direct comparison with something else (I am taller than my brother.)

Superlative adjectives highlight something that is bigger, better or more than everything else (the largest live newsroom in Europe, the latest technology).

Look at these examples. How do we form superlative adjectives?

  • The BBC news team is one of the fastest in the world.
  • New Broadcasting House was the biggest building project in BBC history.
  • The Learning English staff are the busiest and happiest at the BBC!

In these examples, we add –est after the adjective. We also use ‘the’ before the adjective (fast - the fastest, large - the largest).

If the adjective finishes with a consonant-vowel-consonant pattern (like ‘big’), the final consonant is doubled (big - the biggest, fat - the fattest).

If the adjective ends with a consonant + y, we change the y to an i (busy - the busiest, funny - the funniest).

One more thing – there are always irregular forms in English! This is true for comparative and superlative adjectives as well. Here are some of the common irregular forms:

adjective             comparative      superlative

good                      better (than)     (the) best

well                        better (than)     (the) best

bad                        worse (than)      (the) worst

ill                            worse (than)      (the) worst

far                          further (than)    (the) furthest

Please check out our grammar reference for more explanations and examples.

Before we look at different adjectives, let’s check what you have learned so far with a quick comparatives and superlatives quiz. Look at the sentences and put the adjectives into the correct comparative or superlative form. Remember to check your spelling carefully!

Comparative or superlative?

5 Questions

Read these sentences and fill the gap with the comparative or superlative form of the adjective.

Baga gammadde! Qormaata xumurteetta
Excellent! Great job! Carraa badaa! Qabxii argatte:
x / y

Next

Of course, English is never that easy! There are irregular forms but there are also longer adjectives too. The next activity will look at when we use the words more and most. 

Caasluga kutaa kanaa

  • Comparative adjectives tell us how something is different (the original smaller home of the BBC) or how something has changed (It's busier than ever).

    In most cases, we add -er to the adjective to form a comparative (large-larger, fast-faster).'If the adjective finishes with a consonant-vowel-consonant pattern (like 'big'), the final consonant is doubled when -er is added (big-bigger, fat-fatter).

    If the adjective ends with a consonant + y, we change the y to an i (busy-busier, funny-funnier).

    We use 'than' to make a direct comparison with something else (I am taller than my brother.)

    Superlative adjectives highlight something that is bigger, better or more than everything else (the largest live newsroom in Europe, the latest technology).

    We add –est after the adjective. We also use 'the' before the adjective (fast-the fastest, large-the largest).

    If the adjective finishes with a consonant-vowel-consonant pattern (like 'big'), the final consonant is doubled (big-the biggest, fat-the fattest).

    If the adjective ends with a consonant + y, we change the y to an i (busy-the busiest, funny-the funniest).

    Note - there are always irregular forms in English! This is true for comparative and superlative adjectives as well. Here are some of the common irregular forms:

    adjective - comparative - superlative

    good - better (than) - (the) best 

    well - better (than) - (the) best 

    bad - worse (than) - (the) worst 

    ill - worse (than) - (the) worst 

    far - further (than) - (the) furthest