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Comparatives vs. Superlatives

Atualizado: Jun 12

Comparatives and superlatives are both used to compare nouns,

but they are used very differently.

Written by Jill Campanella-Dysart

A comparative is used to compare two nouns.

A superlative is used to compare three or more nouns.

A comparative is followed by “than.” Ex. Mike is shorter than Mark.

A superlative is preceded by “the”. Ex. Lydia is the smartest.

Note: Notice how both the comparative and superlative are meant to compare, but only the comparative requires both subjects to be present in the sentence.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. The most important is the adjectives “good” and “bad.”

These can be split up in two ways:

She is a better student than her classmate.


She is better than her classmate at school.


Sheila is worse than Mark at reading.


Sheila is a worse reader than Mark.

  • When constructing a comparative or superlative of a word that ends in “y,” be sure the “y” changes to an “i.”

  • When the adjective ends with an “e,” it should be dropped:

  • When a short vowel adjective ends in a consonant, the consonant is doubled. For example:

Longer adjectives do not use the -ER or -EST ending. A good reminder is that one-syllable adjectives use -ER and -EST and adjectives longer than two syllables do not. However, there are a lot of exceptions to this rule.

For these, simply precede the adjective with “more” (the comparative) or “the most” (the superlative).

Christoper is more talented than Terry.

Terry is more beautiful than Christopher.

Lydia is the most talented in her family.

Note: Notice that in this form, unlike the -ER and -EST endings, both the comparative and the superlative require both subjects to be present in the sentence.

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