* There are three degrees of comparison:
1 Positive: dark tall useful
2 Comparative: darker taller more useful
3 Superlative: darkest tallest most useful
* One-syllable adjectives form their comparative and superlative by adding er and est to the positive
- bright ───── brighter ──── brightest
- new ───── newer ──── newest
* Adjectives of three or more syllables form their comparative and superlative by putting more and
most before the positive:
- expensive ──────── more expensive ──── most expensive
- interesting ────── more interesting ──── most interesting
* Adjectives of two syllables follow one or other of the above rules. Those ending in er, y, or ly add
- clever ─────── cleverer ─────── cleverest
- easy ──────── easier ──────── easiest
- holy ───────── holier ──────── holiest
* Irregular comparisons:
- good ──── better ────── best
- bad ───── worse ───── worst
- little ── less ────── least
- many ──┬─ more ────── most
- much ──┘
┌── further ─────── furthest
- far ────┴── farther ─────── farthest
- old ────┬── older ───────── oldest
└── elder ───────── eldest
* With adverbs of two or more syllables the comparative is formed by putting more before the adverb,
and the superlative by putting most before the adverb:
- quickly ──────── more quickly ────────── most quickly
- fortunately ──── more fortunately ────── most fortunately
* Single-syllable adverbs, however, and the adverb early, add er and est:
- hard ──────────── harder ──────────── hardest
- fast ──────────── faster ──────────── fastest
- early ─────────── earlier ─────────── earliest
* Irregular comparisons:
- well ───────── better ──────── best
- badly ──────── worse ───────── worst
- late────────── later ───────── last
- little ─────── less ────────── least
- much ───────── more ────────── most
- far ───────┬── farther ─────── farthest
└── further ─────── furthest
* After comparatives we use than.
- Jill is more intelligent than Alec.
- Peter works harder than John.
- It's cheaper to go by car than to go by train.
* Before the comparative of adjectives and adverbs you can use: a bit / a little / much / a lot / far /
a good deal
- Let's go by car. It's much (or a lot) cheaper.
- Could you speak a little (or a bit) more slowly?
- Her illness was far more serious than we at first thought
* Further ( but not 'farther') can also mean more or additional:
-Let me know immediately if you hear any further news. (= any more news).
* Older and elder
The comparative of old is older:
- Tom looks older than he really is.
We use elder when we are talking about members of a family. We say (my) elder brother /sister /son
- My elder brother is a pilot.
We use elder only before a noun:
- My brother is older than me (not 'elder than me').
* Sometimes you can use two comparatives together. For example: harder and harder, more and
more, more and more difficult. We use this structure to say that something is changing continuously:
- It's becoming harder and harder to find a job.
- Your English is improving. It's getting better and better.
- These days more and more people are learning English.
* Note the structure: the + comparative the + comparative.
-'What time shall we leave?' 'The sooner the better.'(= it will be best if we leave as soon as
-'What size box do you want? ''The bigger the better.'(= it will be best if the box is as big as
- The warmer the weather, the better I feel.
- The earlier we leave, the sooner we will arrive.
-The more electricity you use, the higher your bill will be.
* not so/as .......... as .......
-Jack isn't as old as he looks. (= He looks older than he is).
-The city centre wasn't as crowded this morning as it usually is. (= it is usually more crowded).
-Jim didn't do as well in his examination as he had hoped. (= he had hoped to do better)
* as .................... as ..............
- I'm sorry I'm late. I got here as fast as I could.
- There's plenty of food, so eat as much as you like.
- Can you send me the money as soon as possible, please?
* We also say twice as ..... as, three times as ..... as, etc.
- Petrol is twice as expensive as it was a few years ago.
- Their house is about three times as big as ours.
* We say the same as (not 'the same like')
-Ann's salary is the same as mine. (or 'Ann gets the same salary as me')
- Tom is the same age as George.
* After than and as it is more usual to say me/him/her/them/us when there is no verb. Compare these
- You are taller than I am = You are taller than me.
- I can't run as fast as he can = I can't run as fast as him.
- They have more money than we have = They have more money than us.
* After superlatives, we use in with places (towns, buildings, etc.):
-What's the longest river in the world? (not 'of the world.')
- We were lucky to have one of the nicest rooms in the hotel.
Also(the best...) in the class/in the team/in the company, etc.
But: the happiest day of my life, the hottest day of the year.
Note that we often use the present perfect after a superlative:
- What's the best film you've ever seen?
- That was the most delicious meal I've had for a long time.
* We sometimes use most + adjective (without 'the') to mean very:
-The book you lent me was most interesting. (= very interesting)
-Thank you for the money. It was most generous of you. (= very generous).