Expressing Comparisons by Using Comparative Adjectives

10 July 2023 / Team Fun English Course

Comparative adjectives are crucial in comparing two things and highlighting their contrasting qualities. Using them, we can effectively express how one thing is superior, inferior, or different. Let’s find out more about the full range of this adjective in this article!

What is a Comparative Adjective?

What is a Comparative Adjective

Comparative adjectives refer to words or adjectives you use to compare two things– people, groups, or things in general. As the name suggests, the term indicates a higher or lower degree of quality compared to another. 

These adjectives are formed by adding suffixes like “-er” or using the word “more” or “less”. For example, in the phrase “bigger house,” “bigger” is the comparative adjective that compares the size of one house to another.

The General Rule of Comparative Adjectives

Rule of Comparative Adjectives

Comparative adjectives typically follow a set of rules when forming comparisons. For most one-syllable adjectives, we add “-er” to the end of the adjective. Meanwhile, when dealing with longer adjectives, we use “more” or “less” before the positive form of the adjective.

One-Syllable Adjectives

When forming comparisons with these adjectives, we follow a simple rule. We add “-er” to the end of the adjective to indicate a higher degree of the quality it describes. For example:

  • Fast – faster
  • Strong – stronger
  • Dry – dryer
  • Heavy – heavier

One-Syllable Adjectives Ending in Consonant-Vowel-Consonant

These adjectives have a pattern, such as “big,” “hot,” or “wet.” Pay attention to these examples for a detailed explanation.

  • Big – Bigger
  • Hot – hotter
  • Dim – dimmer

Two-Syllable Adjectives Ending in –y

These adjectives follow a specific rule when forming the comparative degree. You must ditch the “-y” and replace it with “-ier” to create the comparative degree. 

However, this rule applies to most adjectives, regardless of whether the “-y” is preceded by a consonant or a vowel. For example:

  • Lucky – luckier
  • Early – earlier
  • Busy – busier
  • Pretty – prettier

Two-Syllable Adjectives Ending in –er, -le, or –ow

To form a comparative degree with these adjectives, add “-er” to the end of the adjective. Also, this rule applies to most adjectives that fall into these categories. Here are some examples:

  • Subtle – subtler
  • Clever – cleverer
  • Shallow – shallower
  • Gentle – gentler

Other Adjectives with Two or More Syllables

For adjectives with two or more syllables, we use the word “more” or “less” before the positive form of the adjective to form the comparative degree. For example:

  • Dangerous – more dangerous
  • Difficult – more difficult
  • Expensive – less expensive
  • Informative – less informative

Comparative adjectives are often used with “than” to connect the two things being compared. Nevertheless, it is possible to eliminate “than” while maintaining a clear comparison.

How to Use Comparative Adjectives

examples of comparative adjectives

Using the comparative adjective in sentences is effortless. You can put the word used as subject complements with linking verbs or before the noun/pronoun they modify. Here are examples of comparative adjectives in sentences.

Comparative Adjectives Using “–er.”

  • Diana is younger than me.
  • She and I will move to a smaller town.
  • Start with a simpler recipe before trying harder cuisines.

Comparative Adjectives Using “More”

  • Her signature cocktail is more interesting than what the bar is offering.
  • Being a writer requires you to be more creative.
  • Puppies tend to be more playful than cats.

Comparative Adjectives Using “Less”

  • The flat is less expensive than the condo.
  • Diana asked me to find a less crowded restaurant.
  • She became less talkative when hungry.

More than anything, using a comparative adjective is effortless. All you need to do is look at the objects – if there are two things to compare, then you can use this type of adjective.

Hone your English with the Fun English Course. There are various classes to explore, from the beginners to the intermediate classes. In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of comparative adjectives, learning English with Fun English Course gives you the best learning experience ever!

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