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Comparatives: definition, examples, and how to form them

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romeo

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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:

  • angry - angrier
  • good - better
  • big - bigger
  • blue - bluer
  • brave - braver
  • busy - busier
  • clever - cleverer
  • clever - more clever
  • cold - colder
  • dry - drier
  • easy- easier
  • fast - faster
  • fat - fatter
  • funny - funnier
  • gentle - gentler
  • happy - happier
  • healthy - healthier
  • high - higher
  • hot - hotter
  • kind - kinder
  • large - larger
  • late - later
  • long - longer
  • loud - louder
  • lucky - luckier
  • mean - meaner
  • nice - nicer
  • old - older
  • pretty - prettier
  • quick - quicker
  • quiet - quieter
  • rich - richer
  • sad - sadder
  • safe - safer
  • short - shorter
  • simple - simpler
  • simple - more simple
  • small - smaller
  • smart - smarter
  • strange - stranger
  • strong - stronger
  • tall - taller
  • thin - thinner
  • weak - weaker
  • weird - weirder
  • wet - wetter
  • wise - wiser
  • bad - worse
  • young - younger
  • admirable - more admirable
  • athletic - more athletic
  • attractive - more attractive
  • amusing - more amusing
  • awesome - more awesome
  • beautiful - more beautiful
  • boring - more boring
  • careful - more careful
  • caring - more caring
  • charming - more charming
  • clever - more clever
  • comfortable - more comfortable
  • complicated - more complicated
  • crowded - more crowded
  • daring - more daring
  • dependable - more dependable
  • difficult - more difficult
  • economical - more economical
  • efficient - more efficient
  • embarrassing - more embarrassing
  • exciting - more exciting
  • expensive - more expensive
  • extraordinary - more extraordinary
  • extroverted - more extroverted
  • famous - more famous
  • forgetful - more forgetful
  • fragrant - more fragrant
  • funny - more funny
  • generous - more generous
  • gentle - more gentle
  • graceful - more graceful
  • grateful - more grateful
  • important - more important
  • inspirational - more inspirational
  • intelligent - more intelligent
  • interesting - more interesting
  • introverted - more introverted
  • irritating - more irritating
  • modern - more modern
  • musical - more musical
  • organized - more organized
  • original - more original
  • peaceful - more peaceful
  • photogenic - more photogenic
  • pleasant - more pleasant
  • popular - more popular
  • talented - more talented
  • talkative - more talkative
  • thoughtful - more thoughtful
  • trustworthy - more trustworthy
  • valuable - more valuable
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