Often times in writing we wish to compare a noun to another noun. In order to do that we need to use a special form of adjective called a comparative adjective. Consider how the following sentence shows degrees of comparison.
Here the adjective bigger is used to compare Chicago and Los Angeles.
What Are Comparative Adjectives?
Comparative adjectives compare two things, people, or places unlike positive adjectives which stand alone and do not make comparisons between nouns. Frequently, the word than accompanies the comparative but not always.
The taller boy is Paul.
Forming Comparative Adjectives
In some cases the comparative is formed by adding the suffix –er to a one syllable adjective. Sometimes two syllable words become comparative with an – er suffix as well. At other times the words more or less precede a two or three syllable adjective to show degrees of comparison. However, it’s not acceptable to do both. In other words, it’s poor grammar to say Paul is more taller than John, or less taller than Michael.
Examples of Comparative Adjectives
The following are a few examples of how comparative adjectives are used in sentences.
Here is a list of some common adjectives and their comparative forms:
|angry – angrier||anxious – more anxious|
|Beautiful – more beautiful||brave – braver|
|bright – brighter||broad – broader|
|calm –calmer||cold – colder|
|cool – cooler||curly – curlier|
|dirty – dirtier||dry – drier|
|dull – duller||earlier – earlier|
|embarrassed – more embarrassed||evil – more evil|
|fine –finer||friendly – friendlier|
|fresh – fresher||happy – happier|
|hard – harder||hot – hotter|
|immense – more immense||long – longer|
|lovely – lovelier||nervous – more nervous|
|odd- odder||old – older|
|perfect – more perfect||quick – quicker|
|rich – richer||smart – smarter|
|sweet – sweeter||thin – thinner|
As you can see, not all common adjectives are made comparative by adding the suffix -er. The examples above show cases where you have to use the words more or less to create the comparative form. Now, there is just one more rule to consider…
Some adjectives have irregular forms in the comparative degree, meaning they don’t have a suffix –er nor do they need the words more or less. The comparative forms of these adjectives are totally different words.
|good – better||little – less|
|bad – worse||far – farther|
|much – more|
Recognizing and choosing comparative adjectives really isn’t difficult. Just remember they are used to compare two objects, people, or places, they are created by adding the suffix -er to the positive form of a one-syllable adjective or they are have the word more or less preceding them if the positive adjective is three syllables or more. By keeping these simple rules in mind – plus memorizing a few irregular forms – you can confidently use comparative adjectives in your writing.