Adjectives and adverbs arewords the modify otherwords. The comparativeform of an adjective oradverb compares twothings. The superlative formof an adjective or adverbcompares three of morethings.
Rules at a GlanceAdjective form Comparative SuperlativeOnly one syllable, with morethan one vowel or more thanone consonant at the end.Examples:light, neat, fast, tall, neat, deepAdd -er:lighter, neater, faster, taller,neater, deeperAdd -est:lightest, neatest, fastest,tallest. neatest, deepestOnly one syllable, ending in E.Examples:wide, fine, cuteAdd -r:wider, finer, cuterAdd -st:widest, finest, cutestOnly one syllable, with onevowel and one consonant atthe end. Examples:hot, big, fat, sadDouble the consonant, and add-er:hotter, bigger, fatter, sadderDouble the consonant, and add-est:hottest, biggest, fattest,saddestTwo syllables, ending in Y.Examples:happy, silly, lonely, jollyChange y to i, then add -er:happier, sillier, lonelier, jollierChange y to i, then add -est:happiest, silliest, loneliest,jolliesttwo syllable word ending avowel-sound that is notstressedyellow, simpleAdd -er:yellower, simplerAdd -est:yellower, simplerTwo syllables or more, notending in Y. Examples:modern, interesting, beautiful,Use more before the adjective:more modern, moreinteresting, more beautifulUse most before the adjective:most modern, most interesting,most beautiful
This sentence shows the use oflarge in the positive degree.This hippopotamus islarge.(larger than)
But what happens when you wantto compare the largehippopotamus to something else?
When you compare the largehippopotamus to another thing,you have to use the comparativedegree. This means that theword has to change.
There are 2 ways that you canchange “large” to the comparativedegree:•Add “er” to the end of the word•Add “more” to the front of the wordlarge + er = larger
Some adjectives, especiallythose with 3 syllables ormore, use “more” instead of“er.” Here’s an example:
The hippopotamus is moreintelligent than the chicken.1 + 1 = 2 24= 16
But what should we do if we wantto compare our largehippopotamus with more than justone other thing? What should wedo if we want to compare our largehippopotamus to….let’s say….3other things?
We would then use the adjective inthe superlative degree, and thatmeans that our word would haveto change again.
There are 2 ways that you canchange “large” to the superlativedegree:•Add “est” to the end of the word•Add “most” to the front of the wordlarge + est = largest
The hippopotamus is thelargest one in the bunch.
Here’s an example where youwould use “most” in front of anadjective.
The hippopotamus is the mostcourteous animal of the group.Moveit orlose it!You’reouttahere! Hit thehighway,big guy!May I pleasebe excused?
So, we have learned that we canuse an adjective to showrelationships in the comparativeand superlative degrees:
•larger (comparing 2 things)•largest (comparing more than 2 things)•more intelligent (comparing 2 things)•most intelligent (comparing more than 2 things)• more courteous (comparing 2 things)• most courteous (comparing more than 2 things)
Like many things in the Englishlanguage, there are someexceptions:
Some words change differently inthe comparative and superlativedegrees.
For example,let’s consider the word “good”:POSITIVE: goodCOMPARATIVE: betterSUPERLATIVE: best
This grade is good.This grade is better than that grade.The is the best grade of all.B+A- B+A
Here’s another example of unusualchanges from positive, comparative,and superlative degrees:POSITIVE: badCOMPARATIVE: worseSUPERLATIVE: worst