Comparatives And Superlatives

We use Comparatives and Superlatives to compare two or more nouns. A comparison is done between two things. On the other hand, superlative adjective is applied in the sentences, when a single thing or a person is compared with every other member of that group.


The apple on the left is bigger than the apple on the right.

Comparing two apples - Comparatives And Superlatives


Chisato Iwasaki, a Japanese farmer, grew and picked the biggest apple in the world.

Comparatives And Superlatives

Note: It is common to see list with superlatives followed by the word ‘ever’, further emphasizing the comparison. Example: ‘Top 5 Best Books On Language Learning Ever’.

Comparing Equals

As … as

We use as + adjective/adverb + as to make comparisons when the things we are comparing are equal in some way:

  • The world’s tallest living tree is as big as a 36-story skyscraper.
  • The weather this summer is as dry as last year. It hasn’t stopped raining for weeks.
  • You have to handle it as carefully as you can. It’s quite delicate.

Not as … as

We use not as … as to make comparisons between things which aren’t equal:

  • It’s not as heavy as I thought it would be, actually.
  • Brad is not as tall as Scarlet.
  • She’s not singing as loudly as she can.
  • They didn’t play as well as they usually do.

We can modify not as … as by using not quite as or not nearly as, or other adjective:

  • The second race was not quite as long as the first one. (The second race was easy but the first one was longer.)
  • These new rollerblades are not nearly as comfortable as my old ones. (My old rollerblades are a lot more comfortable than these new ones.)

We can also use not so … as. Not so … as is less common than not as … as:

  • The hike was good but not so hard as the cross country skiing we did.

As … as + possibility

We often use expressions of possibility or ability after as … as:

  • Can you call me as soon as possible?
  • Go to as many places as you can.
  • We got out of there as fast as we could.

Comparative addition

As well as, As much as, as many as

When we want to make comparisons referring to quantity, we use as much as with uncountable nouns and as many as with plural nouns:

  • Greg makes as much money as Mick but not as much as Neil.
  • They try to give them as much freedom as they can.
  • There weren’t as many people there as I expected.

We can use as much as and as many as before a number to refer to a large number of something:

  • Scientists have discovered a planet which weighs as much as 2,500 times the weight of Earth.
  • There were as many as 50 people crowded into the tiny room.

As well as is a multi-word preposition which means ‘in addition to’:

One-syllable Adjectives

  • To form the comparative, we add -er to the end of the adjective.
  • To form the superlative, we add -est to the end of the adjective.

* When an adjective ends in the letter E, we just add the -R (for comparatives) or -ST (for superlatives). We do not write two Es together. Wider (correct) not wideer (incorrect).

** When an adjective ends in a consonant + short vowel + consonant (C + V + C), we normally double the last letter. big – bigger – biggest, wet – wetter – wettest

  • Madrid is bigger than Barcelona.
  • Yesterday was the hottest day of the year.

Notice how comparatives are often followed by than when comparing two things or people. Zoe is taller than John but James is the tallest.

Two syllables

Adjectives with two syllables can form the comparative either by adding -er or by preceding the adjective with more. These adjectives form the superlative either by adding -est or by preceding the adjective with most. In many cases, both forms are used, although one usage will be more common than the other. If you are not sure whether a two-syllable adjective can take a comparative or superlative ending, play it safe and use more and most instead. For adjectives ending in y, change the y to an i before adding the ending.

happyhappierthe happiest
simplesimplerthe simplest
busybusierthe busiest
tiltedmore tiltedthe most tilted
tangledmore tangledthe most tangled
Superlatives in the beginning a sentence often do not use the preposition ‘the’.

Three or more syllables

Adjectives with three or more syllables form the comparative by putting more in front of the adjective, and the superlative by putting most in front.

importantmore interestingthe most interesting
expensivemore expensivethe most expensive
Superlatives in the beginning a sentence often do not use the preposition ‘the’.

Comparative And Superlative List

Regular Adjectives

angryangrierthe angriest
beautifulmore beautifulthe most beautiful
bigbiggerthe biggest
boringmore boringthe most boring
cheapcheaperthe cheapest
cleancleanerthe cleanest
cleverclevererthe cleverest
closecloserthe closest
coldcolderthe coldest
coolcoolerthe coolest
crazycrazierthe craziest
crispycrispierthe crispiest
cutecuterthe cutest
darkdarkerthe darkest
deepdeeperthe deepest
dirtydirtierthe dirtiest
drydrierthe driest
earlyearlierthe earliest
easyeasierthe easiest
expensivemore expensivethe most expensive
fastfasterthe fastest
fatfatterthe fattest
fewfewerthe fewest
fitfitterthe fittest
flatflatterthe flattest
freshfresherthe freshest
funnyfunnierthe funniest
greatgreaterthe greatest
hairyhairierthe hairiest
happyhappierthe happiest
healthyhealthierthe healthiest
heavyheavierthe heaviest
highhigherthe highest
hothotterthe hottest
hungryhungrierthe hungriest
interestingmore interestingthe most interesting
kindkinderthe kindest
largelargerthe largest
latelaterthe latest
lightlighterthe lightest
littlelittlerthe littlest
longlongerthe longest
loudlouderthe loudest
lowlowerthe lowest
modernmore modernthe most modern
nearnearerthe nearest
newnewerthe newest
nicenicerthe nicest
oldolderthe oldest
poorpoorerthe poorest
popularmore popularthe most popular
quickquickerthe quickest
richricherthe richest
sadsadderthe saddest
saltysaltierthe saltiest
scaryscarierthe scariest
shortshorterthe shortest
skinnyskinnierthe skinniest
slowslowerthe slowest
smallsmallerthe smallest
smartsmarterthe smartest
softsofterthe softest
strongstrongerthe strongest
talltallerthe tallest
thickthickerthe thickest
tiredmore tiredthe most tired
uglyuglierthe ugliest
warmwarmerthe warmest
weakweakerthe weakest
wetwetterthe wettest
widewiderthe widest
youngyoungerthe youngest
Superlatives in the beginning a sentence often do not use the preposition ‘the’.

Irregular Adjectives

goodbetterthe best
badworsethe worst
muchmorethe most
farfarther/furtherthe farthest/furthest
little/lessless/lesserthe least
manymorethe most
wellbetterthe best
Superlatives in the beginning a sentence often do not use the preposition ‘the’.