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Overview of Comparatives and Superlatives

Comparatives and superlatives are used to compare.

Comparatives compare 2 people, places, or things.

Superlatives are used for more than 2 people, places, or things.

We will only cover comparatives in this lesson. We will briefly go over the most important parts of comparatives, and we will cover each point in more detail in separate lessons.

Things to Know about Comparatives

1. We use comparative adjectives to compare nouns. We add "-er" to the end of short adjectives. We use "more/less + adjective" for long adjectives.

Use "than" after the comparative to show what is being compared to the subject. If both the speaker and listener know what is being compared to, then we can leave out "than...".

Subject A + be verb + comparative + than + Subject B
  • An elephant is bigger than a cat.
  • I think that ice cream is more delicious than pizza.
  • This is nicer (than that).
  • Coffee is stronger than tea.
  • Last year was colder than this year.
  • Next year will be nicer than this year.
2. We can use comparative adverbs to compare how two subjects do something.

We often use "verb + more/less", "verb + more/less + adverb", or "verb + comparative".

Subject A + verb + comparative + than + Subject B

Again, if both the speaker and listener already know who or what "Subject B" is, then we do not need to say or write it.
  • She eats more than I do.
  • He walks more slowly than me.
  • We stayed longer than her.
We can put an object before or after the comparative.
  • She eats more candy than I do.
  • She eats candy more than I do.
3. After "than" we can use a clause. Take a look at some common examples.
  • It is bigger than I thought.
  • She was nicer than I imagined.
  • It was more expensive than they promised us it would be.
  • The beach is dirtier than I remember when I was young.
4. There are some irregular comparatives. Here are the adjectives and irregular comparatives forms.
  • good/well better
  • bad/badly worse
  • far further
  • You can cook better than me.
  • I am better at baseball than my brother.
  • She is a worse singer than him.
  • I live further away than he does.
5. We can use repeated comparatives to emphasize. This is used to emphasize and show a trend or continuing state.
  • The weather is getting hotter and hotter.
  • The boy is getting taller and taller every day.
For longer words, repeat "more/less" two times and the comparative one time.
  • The movie gets less and less interesting each time I see it.
  • Water will become more and more expensive in the future.
6. We use double comparatives to show trends. A goes up and B goes up or A goes down and B goes up, or A goes down and B goes down, etc.

These are a little difficult for English learners, but these are very important for advanced English and they are crucial for business English.

These sentences will have two parts – the cause and the result. Both parts start with (the + comparative)
  • The more I eat, the bigger I get.
  • The older I get, the more I want to work.
  • The hotter the weather gets, the harder it is for me to sleep.
Comparatives are a very important part of English. There are many different ways to use comparatives and we have to know them all well.

We can make simple comparative sentences like, "Winter is colder than summer".

We can also make long and advanced comparative sentences like, "English can be much tougher to learn for people who are from Korea than people who grew up with a language that has its roots in Latin."

There are many more free English lessons about comparatives that go into more detail. Improve your English grammar by studying the upcoming free grammar lessons about comparatives, or go to other lessons and study other English grammar points, English speaking lessons, or many other free English lessons.

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