Have you ever been told, “It’s more fun, not funner”, and wondered, “How am I supposed to know that”? If so, this lesson is for you.
As the name implies, a comparative adjective compares two things. It’s formed by using “more” or “-er”.
This lesson is more interesting than that one.
I am stronger than you are.
A superlative adjective compares more than two things by showing which is the “most” or “-est”.
This is the most delicious lemon meringue pie I have ever tasted.
The gold medalist ran the fastest.
In general, one-syllable adjectives use the -er and -est endings.
short, shorter, shortest
kind, kinder, kindest
rich, richer, richest
Now, you might be thinking, “So funner is right!” Unfortunately, English wouldn’t be English if it weren’t full of exceptions.
Even though most one-syllable adjectives use -er and -est, fun doesn’t. More fun and most fun are right.
If the adjective ends in “y”, it also adds -er and -est. But be careful! You also need to change the y to an i.
Wrong: jollyer, fancyest
Right: jollier, fanciest
There are no exceptions here!
These adjectives all use more and most.
illuminating, more illuminating, most illuminating
adventurous, more adventurous, most adventurous
catastrophic, more catastrophic, most catastrophic
Did you notice that we jumped from one- to three-syllable adjectives? That’s because rules don’t really exist for adjectives with two syllables.
Some use -er/-est, some use more/most, and a lot can use either one.
Cleverer, more clever, cleverest, and most clever are all correct.
If you’re ever unsure which form to use, look it up. A quick Google search will reveal if you’re using the right form or not.
Last but not least are our irregulars. These adjectives don’t follow the rules at all, so you’ve just got to know what their comparative and superlative forms are:
bad, worse, worst
far, farther/further, farthest/furthest
good, better, best
little, less, least
much, more, most
old, older/elder, oldest/eldest
The good news is that that’s all! The list of irregulars is nice and short this time.