Adjective · easy grammar · ESL grammar · Grammar

Comparisons for Beginners

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How to Compare Things 

By Olga Koliichuk

We sometimes want to compare things. If you compare two houses you say: “This house is bigger than that one”.

You can see that the word big has some changes now. There is er at the end and gg in the middle. And we need the word than before the object we compare with.

We can compare with adjectives and adverbs. This time we will talk about adjectives.

Comparing with Adjectives

Adjectives describe the objects and their qualities. They are divided into three groups: adjectives with one syllable, with two syllables and with three syllables.

  1. One syllable (for example: big, short, thin).
  1. Two syllables (for example: ea-sy, la-zy, mo-dest).
  1. Three or more syllables (for example: beau-ti-ful, ter-ri-ble, a-ma-zing).

comparison

Now let’s get back to comparing:

The rule for one-syllable words is as follows.

For comparing (better), add -er.

For the superlative (the best), add the and –est. (You need to add the because only one can be the best.)

Example:

To compare two phones we say, “My mobile phone is thinner than yours.”

If we see a really big house we can say, “This house is the biggest in town.”

Doubling of Consonants (GG, TT, NN, etc.)

Now let’s answer the question: Why do bigger and biggest have GG?

But not only in bigger and biggest.

Here are some more examples:

fat, fatter, fattest;

hot, hotter, hottest;

red, redder, reddest;

sad, sadder, saddest;

thin, thinner, thinnest;

wet, wetter, wettest.)

As you can see, all these adjectives have the following pattern: consonant(s), short vowel, consonant (CVC words): big, fat, hot, red, sad, thin, wet.

The rule is: if you want the vowel to sound like a short vowel, you need to double the consonant after –er and –est.

(A short vowel is the sound of the vowel as they sound in the example words above.)

Read more about doubling consonants here.

Words with Three Syllables

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten the words with two syllables.

But first about three syllables, because it’s easier to explain and for you to understand.

How should we compare interesting, beautiful and terrible things?

If you visited Buenos Aires and Paris, you can compare these trips in the following way: The trip to Buenos Aires was more interesting than the trip to Paris.

What do we see? There is the word more before “beautiful.”

If you want to express the highest quality you should say, “This trip was the most exciting.” Or: “It was the most expensive.”

As you may have noticed, there is a phrase the most before “exciting” and “expensive.”

Comparisons with Adjectives with Two Syllables

Lastly, what do we do with adjectives with two syllables?

Well, you may choose to treat them as one-syllable adjectives. Or you can also treat them as three-syllable adjectives.

So you can use: easier and more easy, and easiest and most easy. They are both okay.

You can use: prettier and more pretty, and prettiest and most pretty. Both okay.

You can use: simple and more simple, and simplest and most simple. Both are fine!

There are however a few exceptions that don’t work with er and est. For example “modest” from our example above can only go with more and most. When you try to say modester or modestest, you will understand why this is.

Important note: Please beware that more easier and most easier are WRONG! You cannot put more and er at the same time, nor can you add most and est at the same time.

Less and Least

If you want to express that something is not better but worse than something else, or even the worst, you need the words less and least. Suppose the trip to Paris was not so exciting in comparison with the one to Buenos Aires, so you say: The trip to Paris was less exciting than the one to Buenos Aires.

If you’ve just watched a very dull film, you can say, This film was the least interesting I have ever seen.

To recap, here are some more examples of more and less, and most and least:

1. This song is less beautiful than the previous one.

2. His lecture is the least interesting of all.

3. Their son seems to be more intelligent than his nephew.

4. Her task is the least difficult.

5. The red chair is the most comfortable of all the chairs in the house.

Of course there are some exceptions. Here are some adjectives which don’t follow the regular rules:

Adjective Comparative Superlative
good better than the best
bad worse than the worst
little less than the least
much more than the most
many more than the most
far farther than the farthest
far further than the furthest
old older than the oldest
old elder than the eldest

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Exercise 1 (Answers underneath)

Use the adjectives between the brackets ().

1. My sister is (tall) than your brother.

2. Erica is (beautiful) in the group.

3. Theo is (strong) than John.

4. We came (early) than you.

5. Our toy is (cheap) than yours.

6. This car is (expensive) than Mercedes.

7. She is upset because the evening was (bad) than she expected.

8. The weather is (good) today than it was yesterday.

9. My niece has got (little) money than you.

10. This ice-cream is so delicious that I want (much).

11. His performance was (bad) of all the singers.

12. Of all my friends, he is my (good) friend.

13. This mission was (dangerous) than our last survival trip.

14. Dr. Anderson’s project will be (successful) than hers.

15. “Romeo and Juliet” is one of (sad) plays in the world’s literature.

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Exercise 2

Put the adjectives into the right form.

1.

– Hi, Angela! How was your Management lecture today?

– Oh, hi! Frankly, it was ________________ lecture I have ever attended. Our lecturer was ill, so we had a substitution. I should say that our normal lecturer is __________________ and _________________(dull, interesting, attentive)

2.

– Good morning, Mr. Johanes, did you enjoy the performance yesterday?

– Good morning Ms. Caroll! Yes, it was one of the ____________________ performances! The acting was ___________________ and the plot______________________!

-Oh, it cannot be so perfect!

– Well, yes, the music could be________________________.

(good, exciting, captivating, vivid)

tour

Answers to the exercises underneath:

Exercise 1

1. taller

2. the most beautiful

3. stronger

4. earlier

5. cheaper

6. more expensive

7. worse

8. better

9. less

10. more

11. the worst

12. best

13. more dangerous

14. more successful

15. the saddest

Exercise 2

1.

Hi, Angela! How was your Management lecture today?

Oh, hi! Frankly, it was _____the dullest___________ lecture I have ever attended. Our lecturer was ill, so we had a substitution. I should say that our normal lecturer is ____more interesting ______________ and ______more attentive___________(dull, interesting, attentive)

2.

– Good morning, Mr. Johanes, did you enjoy the performance yesterday?

– Good morning Ms. Caroll! Yes, it was one of the ___best_________________ performances! The acting was ___the most exciting________________ and the plot___the most captivating__________________!

-Oh, it cannot be so perfect!

– Well, yes, the music could be_____more vivid___________________.

(good, exciting, captivating, vivid)

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