GRAMMAR

Comparatives & Superlatives

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THE BIG PICTURE:

To compare people, places and things to each other, use comparatives and superlatives. Use comparatives when talking about two items. Use superlatives when there are more than two items.

Examples of comparatives in adjective form are smarter, more attractive. Superlatives in adjective form are smartest, most attractive.

Forming superlatives can be a little confusing.

Use these rules for words with ONE SYLLABLE:

Standard form

Comparative

Superlative

Word ends in ‘e’: nice, late

add -r nicer, later

add -st nicest, latest

Three letter words, with consonant + vowel + consonant hot, fat, wet, big

double the last letter, then add –er hotter, fatter, wetter, bigge

double the last letter, then add –est hottest, fattest, wettest, biggest

More than one vowel or consonant at the end great, fast, old

add –er greater, faster, older

add –est greatest, fastest, oldest

Use these rules for words with TWO OR MORE SYLLABLES:

Standard form

Comparative

Superlative

Word ends in ‘y’: ugly, silly, jolly

change y to i and add -er uglier, sillier, jollier

change y to i and add -estr ugliest, silliestr, jolliest=

Two or more syllables, not ending in y= modern, impressive, useful

add more before word more modern, more impressive, more useful

add most before word most modern, most impressive, most useful

EXCEPTIONS: "good" and "bad" have irregular forms and do not follow the above rules. The comparative of good is better and the superlative is best. The comparative of bad is worse and the superlative is worst.

Note that whenever you have a comparison, you'll see the word "than" after the adjective. Example: Mike is funnier than his wife.

Note that whenever you have a superlative, the word "the" will be before the adjective. Example: Mike is the funniest guy I know.

   
 
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