Comparisons are used to compare two things, saying which one is bigger, smaller, fatter, etc.

How to make a comparison depends on how long the adjective is.

For adjectives that are one syllable, add ‘-er’

– if the adjective ends in an ‘e’, just add ‘r’ (example: large – larger)
– if the adjective ends in a single vowel-single consonant (one vowel, then one consonant), double the last consonant and add ‘er’ (example: fat – fatter)
– if the adjective ends in ‘y’, change the ‘y’ to ‘i’ and add ‘er’ (example: pretty – prettier)

tall – taller
short – shorter
sweet – sweeter
large – larger (1)
nice – nicer (2)
big – bigger (2)
fat – fatter (2)
pretty – prettier (3)
lively – livelier (3)

Important note:

good – better (not ‘gooder’)
bad – worse (not ‘badder’)

– examples

Dave is fatter than Philip.
Anna is richer than me.
A giraffe is taller than an elephant.

For adjectives that are two syllables, both ‘-er’ and ‘more …’ are used.

– adjectives that end in an unstressed syllable take ‘-er’
– adjectives ending in ‘-ing’, ‘-ed’, ‘-ous’, ‘-ious’, or ‘-ful’ generally take ‘more …’

simple – simpler
stupid – stupider
spicy -spicier

boring – more boring
wicked – more wicked
famous – more famous
pious – more pious
cheerful – more cheerful

– examples

Dave is also stupider than Philip.
The curry is spicier than the soup.
Michael Jackson is more famous than God.

Adjectives with three or more syllables use ‘more …’

interesting – more interesting
delicious – more delicious
fascinating – more fascinating
outrageous – more outrageous
colourful – more colourful

– examples

This is more interesting than yesterday’s movie.
An angry hippopotamus is more dangerous than a sleeping lion.
Dave likes to wear more colourful clothes than Philip.

Exercises

1. Compare two people you know. Who is taller? Who is fatter? Who is more beautiful/handsome?

2. Think of two superheroes. Compare them, and choose which one would win a fight (and why).

3. Imagine trying to sell something to someone. Tell them why the thing you are selling is better than the thing they already have.