Comparatives: definition, examples, and how to form them

Definition of comparatives, and how to form them. Includes a useful list of 100 common comparatives, and example sentences that show how they’re used.

What is a comparative?

The comparative forms of adjectives and adverbs are used when you want to compare two things in order to show the difference between them.

Let’s have a quick look at a simple example of comparatives in action. In this case, the comparatives more expensive, and cheaper:

--> Online Course A is $97, and Online Course B is $47.
--> So, Online Course A is more expensive than Online Course B.
--> And Online Course B is cheaper than Online Course A.

Note: When we’re comparing more than two things we use superlatives, and you can see an explanation and examples of those here if you want to go on to check those out too.

How to form the comparative

We use 'than' when comparing one thing with another.

  • I'm taller than you.
  • He's shorter than me.
  • My son is more musical than my daughter.

Words with one syllable

Generally, the regular comparative is formed by adding '-er' to short (one syllable) words

For example:

  • dark- darker
    She has darker hair than her sister.
  • fast – faster
    My car is faster than yours.
  • long – longer
  • slow – slower
  • smart - smarter
  • quick – quicker

But for one syllable words that end in a vowel and a consonant, we double the consonant and add '-er'

For example:

  • big – bigger
    Sweden is bigger than Finland.
  • fat – fatter
    I'm fatter than my sister.
  • hot – hotter
    It’s usually a lot hotter in Spain than in the UK.
  • thin – thinner
    You’re looking much thinner than when we last met!

Words with two syllables

To form the comparative with most two syllable words we add 'more'

For example:

  • boring - more boring
  • careful - more careful

Some two syllable words can have '-er' and 'more'

  • funny – funnier – more funny
    He's a lot funnier than you.
    He’s more funny than you.
  • simple - simpler - more simple
  • healthy - healthier - more healthy
  • quiet - quieter - more quiet

Words with three syllables

For three or more syllable words we must use 'more'

  • more musical
    Are some people naturally more musical than others?
  • more efficient
    We need to make our filing system more efficient.
  • more important
    There’s nothing more important to me than my family.
  • more difficult
    This year's English exam was a lot more difficult than last year's.
  • more interesting
    I think older people are more interesting.

Words that end in ‘y’

For words that end in 'y', change the 'y' to 'i' and add '-er' to form the comparative:

  • healthy - healthier
    Apples are healthier than cakes.
  • funny - funnier
  • happy – happier
  • angry – angrier

And for words that end in '-e'

we just add 'r'

  • safe - safer
    She's a much safer driver than her husband.

Irregular Comparatives

Irregular adjectives and adverbs don’t make the comparative using either -er / -est or more / most.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a pattern or system for these, so we have to remember each one. Fortunately, there aren’t many 😊

Adjectives:

  • bad – worse
  • good - better
  • little - less
  • many - more
  • much - more
  • some - more

Adverbs:

  • badly - worse
  • little - less
  • far - farther/further
  • well - better

100 English comparatives

Now that we've looked at how to form the comparative, here's a list of 100 frequently-used examples that shows how each one is formed:

  1. angry - angrier
  2. good - better
  3. big - bigger
  4. blue - bluer
  5. brave - braver
  6. busy - busier
  7. clever - cleverer
  8. clever - more clever
  9. cold - colder
  10. dry - drier
  11. easy- easier
  12. fast - faster
  13. fat - fatter
  14. funny - funnier
  15. gentle - gentler
  16. happy - happier
  17. healthy - healthier
  18. high - higher
  19. hot - hotter
  20. kind - kinder
  21. large - larger
  22. late - later
  23. long - longer
  24. loud - louder
  25. lucky - luckier
  26. mean - meaner
  27. nice - nicer
  28. old - older
  29. pretty - prettier
  30. quick - quicker
  31. quiet - quieter
  32. rich - richer
  33. sad - sadder
  34. safe - safer
  35. short - shorter
  36. simple - simpler
  37. simple - more simple
  38. small - smaller
  39. smart - smarter
  40. strange - stranger
  41. strong - stronger
  42. tall - taller
  43. thin - thinner
  44. weak - weaker
  45. weird - weirder
  46. wet - wetter
  47. wise - wiser
  48. bad - worse
  49. young - younger
  50. admirable - more admirable
  51. athletic - more athletic
  52. attractive - more attractive
  53. amusing - more amusing
  54. awesome - more awesome
  55. beautiful - more beautiful
  56. boring - more boring
  57. careful - more careful
  58. caring - more caring
  59. charming - more charming
  60. clever - more clever
  61. comfortable - more comfortable
  62. complicated - more complicated
  63. crowded - more crowded
  64. daring - more daring
  65. dependable - more dependable
  66. difficult - more difficult
  67. economical - more economical
  68. efficient - more efficient
  69. embarrassing - more embarrassing
  70. exciting - more exciting
  71. expensive - more expensive
  72. extraordinary - more extraordinary
  73. extroverted - more extroverted
  74. famous - more famous
  75. forgetful - more forgetful
  76. fragrant - more fragrant
  77. funny - more funny
  78. generous - more generous
  79. gentle - more gentle
  80. graceful - more graceful
  81. grateful - more grateful
  82. important - more important
  83. inspirational - more inspirational
  84. intelligent - more intelligent
  85. interesting - more interesting
  86. introverted - more introverted
  87. irritating - more irritating
  88. modern - more modern
  89. musical - more musical
  90. organized - more organized
  91. original - more original
  92. peaceful - more peaceful
  93. photogenic - more photogenic
  94. pleasant - more pleasant
  95. popular - more popular
  96. talented - more talented
  97. talkative - more talkative
  98. thoughtful - more thoughtful
  99. trustworthy - more trustworthy
  100. valuable - more valuable