Comparative Adverbs

Perhaps you’ve never given it much thought but adjectives and adverbs have two things in common. They both modify another word and they both can show degrees of comparison. Adjectives are used to modify a noun or pronoun. Adverbs modify the meanings of verbs, adjectives and other adverbs. But what about comparative adverbs? What are they and when do you use them? Read on to find out more.

What Are Comparative Adverbs?

As is the case of regular adverbs, comparative adverbs modify. But in this case they show a degree of comparison. You use them when you want to compare two people, places, or things. They’re formed just like a comparative adjective is created. If it’s a short word, adding an –er to the end will transform a regular adverb into a comparative one. Like this:

Lance runs fast but Matt runs faster.
The cat is quick but the mouse is quicker.
I came home early but Steven arrived earlier than I

Other times the words more and less will need to precede the adverb to form the comparative. This is the case with adverbs that end in –ly.

With her new computer, she could work more efficiently at her tasks.
He skied less confidently after the accident on the slopes.

To show comparisons of equality, the word as is used.

I sing as well as David.
I run as fast as Megan.

There are some adverbs that do not have a comparative form, such as sometimes, never, here, there, now, then, first, again, yesterday, and daily.

Adverbs don’t always stand alone. Another point to understand is that comparative adverbs can be combined with phrases or clauses. For example:

He plays better in front of the fans than he does in practice.
We drove faster when we were headed to the beach than we did when we were on the way home.

Examples of Comparative Adverbs

Below is the list of a few regular adverbs with their comparative forms.

fast – faster slow – slower
quick – quicker early – earlier
bright – brighter high – higher
recently – more recently effectively – more effectively
carefully – more carefully completely – more completely
gracefully – more gracefully horribly – more horribly

Sentence Examples

Want to see some sentences? Here are a few examples of how comparative adverbs are used in sentences.

This house was constructed more recently than the one across the street.
Sarah drives more carefully now.
After a few weeks of lessons I could dance more gracefully than before.
The kite flew higher and higher as the wind picked up.
The course teaches you how to more effectively manage your time. The sun shines brighter when you’re around!
Carl was even more horribly suited for the position than Tim.

Irregular Forms

Some adverbs exist in irregular forms. They don’t take on the suffix –er nor do they need the words more or less. The comparative forms of these adverbs have totally different spellings. You’ll find examples of these and how they’re used in sentences below.

Well- better (I feel better now)

Much- more (I feel much better now)

Badly – worse (I feel worse than ever now)

Understanding comparative adverbs really isn’t too difficult. Keep in mind they’re used to compare two people, places, or things and they’re formed by adding the suffix – er to the regular form of a one-syllable adverb. In addition, they may have the word more or less preceding them. You’ll have to memorize the irregular forms, but with these simple rules you can tackle comparative adverb use more confidently.