As a review for those in my Monday evening class, here is a quick overview of the comparative and superlative adjectives.
There are basically 4 categories of adjectives you need to know to form the comparative and superlative.
|1. One syllable adjectives (big, small, fast, etc…)|
|2. Two syllable adjectives ending in –y (sunny, windy, etc..)|
|3. Two syllable or more adjectives (interesting, experienced, etc..)|
|4. Irregular adjectives (good, bad, far)|
Take a look at this chart for forming both the comparative and the superlative.
Comparative Form (-er)
Superlative Form (-est)
|1. one syllable|
big → bigger (*in short adjectives ending in a vowel and consonant, double the consonant before adding -er) small → smaller fast → faster
The article ‘the’ is necessary before a superlative adjective! big → the biggest small → the smallest fast → the fastest
|2. two syllables ending in -y|
It is necessary to change the ‘y’ into ‘i’ before adding –er. sunny → sunnier funny → funnier windy → windier
It is necessary to change ‘y’ into ‘i’ before adding –est. sunny → the sunniest funny → the funniest windy → the windiest
|3. two syllables or more|
Add ‘more’ before the adjective only. fascinating → more fascinating colorful → more colorful interesting → more interesting
Add ‘the most’ before the adjective only.
fascinating → the most fascinating colorful → the most colorful interesting → the most interesting
|4. irregular adjectives|
good → better bad → worse far → farther/further (*both forms are used when speaking about distance; if giving more detail than only ‘further’ is used.)
good → the best bad → the worst far → the farthest/the furthest (*both forms are used when speaking about distance; if giving more detail than only ‘further’ is used.)
Of course English wouldn’t be English without some exceptions to the rules!!!
fun → more fun → the most fun (even though it is a short, one-syllable adjective, it is treated like a long adjective.)
Both forms for creating the comparative and superlative can be used for these adjectives!!
|the most quiet|
|the most clever|
Other adjectives that take both forms are: narrow, shallow and simple
Now take a look and study how the comparative and superlative are used:
Comparative – is used to show a degree of difference between two or more things.
|1. This exam was easier than the last week’s exam. (Usually the comparative form is followed by ‘than’ if the object with which you are making the comparison is mentioned.)|
|2. Taking the train is more expensive than driving.|
|3. I’d like to have a bigger flat.|
|4. This garden looks better since you cleaned it up.|
|5. I think Lisbon’s streets are narrower than Strasbourg’s. / I think Lisbon’s streets are more narrow than Strasbourg’s. (one of the adjectives that takes either form)|
|6. Seattle, Washington is rainier than Miami, Florida.|
|7. We went farther / further away on holiday than our neighbor did. (in terms of distance, either irregular form is used)|
|8. Could you explain further what you mean? (in sense of giving more details, only further is used)|
Superlative – is used to show that something has the greatest degree out of a group. It isn’t being compared to anything else, it is being pointed out as having nothing greater in degree to it!
|1. Jane is 15, Tom is 12 and Tina is 14. Jane is the oldest and Tina is older than Tom. (of this given group)|
|2. Tokyo is the largest city in the world. (there is nothing larger anywhere else)|
|3. David is the most generous person I have ever known.|
|4. I have tasted three different wines this evening. The Sylvaner and Gewüztraminer were quite good but this Pinot Gris was the best one!|
|5. Chicago is known as ‘The Windy City’ because it is the windiest city in the United States.|
|6. His explanation of the events has gone the furthest so far. (has gone into the most detail)|
|7. Of all the members in my walking club, I have walked the farthest / the furthest. (in terms of distance, both forms are possible.)|
|8. She always gets the best grades on all the tests. She is the cleverest / the most clever student in our class. (one of the adjectives that takes either form)|
Here are some online explanations, quizzes and exercises