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Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

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.

Definitions

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.

General Rules for One-Syllable Adjectives

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.

Adjectives That End in Y

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

Adjectives with Three or More Syllables

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

Pesky Two-Syllable Adjectives

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.

Irregular Adjectives

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.

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