Making Comparisons

Comparisons of inequality

To make a comparison between two things, we change adjectives and adverbs into the comparative form.

If the adjective or adverb is only one syllable the comparative is formed by adding an er to the adjective or adverb. So,

old becomes older, tall becomes taller.

The word than is used in the second part of the comparison.

For example:

George is 22 years old.

Kevin is 20 years old.

George is two years older than Kevin.

If the adjective ends in y, the y is changed to i before adding er.

For example:

George is happier than Kevin.

Alice is prettier than Marilyn.

Adjectives and adverbs of two or more syllables form their comparatives by adding more before the adjective or adverb. The word than is used in the second part of the comparison.

George is more impatient than Kevin.

Alice is a more patient person than Marilyn.

Kevin speaks more slowly than George.

as + adjective + as

We also use as + adjective + as to make comparisons.

George is built as straight as an arrow.

George isn't as patient as Kevin.

My mother drives as carefully as my father.

Superlatives of Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives and adverbs of one syllable - and of two syllables ending in ow, y, and er - add est to form the superlative. Y is changed to i before the ending is added. The word article the or a possessive adjective or noun precedes the adjective or adverb.

Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world.

The Sears Building in Chicago is the tallest building in the world.

Tom is my oldest brother.

Most adjectives of two syllables and all adjectives and adverbs of three or more syllables add the most in front of the adjective or adverb used to form the superlative.

The president has the most difficult job in the United States.

He was the most intelligent student in the class.

Irregular forms
AdjectiveComparativeSuperlative
goodbetterbest
badworseworst
farfurther / fartherfurthest / farthest
littlelessleast
much, manymore most

The expression one of the is used with the construction superlative + plural noun.

Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Einstein was one of the most famous scientists in this century.

Note that the articale the is not used before a superlative preceded by a possessive.

Rhode Island is our smallest state.

Susan is her youngest daughter.

Word Forms
AdjectiveNoun
wealthywealth
poorpoverty
beautifulbeauty
uglyugliness

Note: All the nouns in this list are abstract nouns. Abstract nouns are usually uncountable and in the singular form. Is there much beauty / ugliness / wealth / poverty in New York?

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