Let’s say you want to describe a noun (a person, place, or thing). You can use an adjective, as in “Jane’s hair is long,” but what if you want to describe the way Jane’s hair compares with Natalie’s? That’s where comparative adjectives come in.
Comparative adjectives highlight the differences between two nouns. They let you say things like “Jane’s hair is longer than Natalie’s hair.” The than helps join the two nouns that are being compared. There are a few rules to keep in mind when you’re using comparative adjectives. Let’s get into those.
Forming Comparative Adjectives
To make a one-syllable adjective comparative, all you need to do is add -er to the end of it. So short becomes shorter, cold becomes colder, and sweet becomes sweeter.
With two-syllable words, there are a couple of methods you can use. If the adjective ends in -y, you change the Y to an I and add -er. So for example, happy becomes happier, friendly becomes friendlier, and curly becomes curlier.
If the two-syllable adjective doesn’t end in -y, just add more or less before it. This way, perfect becomes more perfect, and modern becomes less modern. Same with adjectives that have three or more syllables. Beautiful becomes more beautiful, and comfortable becomes less comfortable.
These two methods shouldn’t be used together. Saying “Her hair is more curlier than mine,” isn’t quite right. It’s better to say “Her hair is curlier than mine.”
Not all adjectives follow these rules. The ones that don’t are considered irregular. Some examples include good, bad, and far. These become better, worse, and farther or further (depending how it’s used in the sentence).
It can be hard to tell which adjectives are irregular. Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear way to remember them. If you’re stuck, try saying it out loud and seeing what sounds the most natural.
Let’s take it a step further. Superlative adjectives compare three or more nouns. Here’s an example: “May is hot, June is hotter, and July is the hottest.” Hotter is a comparative adjective, while hottest is superlative.
To make one-syllable adjectives superlative, just add -est (e.g. tallest, bravest, and hottest). A two-syllable word ending in -y becomes superlative when you change the Y to an I and add -est (e.g. funniest, healthiest, and spiciest). For all other words, just add most or least in front of them. Some examples include most cheerful, least important, and most enthusiastic.