Friday, February 19, 2010

Bigger, Better, the Best: REVIEW of Comparatives and Superlatives

When we describe something or someone we use adjectives.

Bill is tall.
Tom is short.

But when we need to compare, we use comparatives and superlatives.

Bill is taller than Tom.
Tom is shorter than Bill.
Who is the tallest man?
Who is the shortest man?

So here is how to do it...

CASE 1: One Syllable adjectives (big, tall, green) / Two Syllable adjectives ending in Y

<> Comparatives (+ er)

(big) New York is bigger than Denver.
(tall) Arthur is taller than Jack.
(green) The grass is greener than the grapes.
(pretty) Do you think Susan is prettier than Mary? (change the "y" for an "i)

<> Superlatives (+ est)

(big) Shanghai is the biggest city in the world.
(tall) Bill is the tallest kid in his class.
(grass) That is the greenest grass I’ve ever seen.
(pretty) Jane thinks she’s the prettiest girl in school. (change the "y" for an "i)

CASE 2: Adjectives with Two or More Syllables

<> Comparatives (more +)

(interesting) This book is more interesting than the previous one I read.
(complete) Tom’s plan is more complete than Michael’s plan.

<> Superlatives (the most +)

(interesting) Dr. Smith wrote the most interesting book on this topic.
(complete) Ellen has the most complete plan.

CASE 3: Irregular Adjectives (good, bad, far)

Good – Better – The Best
Bad – Worse – The Worst
Far – Farther/Further – The Farthest/The Furthest

<> Comparative

(good) This coffee is better than the other one.
(bad) The situation is worse today than yesterday.
(far) We need to travel farther before we find a roadside stop.

<> Superlative

(good) That is the best coffee in the world.
(bad) We considered the worst possible scenario.
(far) This is the farthest I have ever travelled.


  1. como es la direccion de este blog?, yo entre por linkedin y no encuetro la direccion

  2. La dirección es:

    Te esperamos!

  3. "further", not "farther". "Farther" is archaic.

  4. Thanks for checking out the blog and for the input, Matt.

    You're right in pointing out differences among the words; however, both are very much in use in modern English. It's actually a question of use.

    "Farther" usually refers to physical distance (as in the example provided), whereas "Further" refers to an extension of time or to the degree to which something extends in a non-physical way (ex. We won't tolerate this situation any further).

    A whole a lesson could actually be dedicated to the matter.

    Here's what American Heritage Dictionary had to say about it...