Forming Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

One-syllable adjectives.

Form the comparative and superlative forms of a one-syllable adjective by adding –er for the comparative form and –est for the superlative.

One-Syllable Adjective Comparative Form Superlative Form
tall taller tallest
old older oldest
long longer longest
  • Mary is taller than Max.
  • Mary is the tallest of all the students.
  • Max is older than John.
  • Of the three students, Max is the oldest.
  • My hair is longer than your hair.
  • Max's story is the longest story I've ever heard.

If the one-syllable adjective ends with an e, just add –r for the comparative form and –st for the superlative form.

One-Syllable Adjective with Final -e Comparative Form Superlative Form
large larger largest
wise wiser wisest
  • Mary's car is larger than Max's car.
  • Mary's house is the largest of all the houses on the block.
  • Max is wiser than his brother.
  • Max is the wisest person I know.

If the one-syllable adjective ends with a single consonant with a vowel before it, double the consonant and add –er for the comparative form; and double the consonant and add –est for the superlative form.

One-Syllable Adjective Ending with a Single Consonant with a Single Vowel before It Comparative Form Superlative Form
big bigger biggest
thin thinner thinnest
fat fatter fattest
  • My dog is bigger than your dog.
  • My dog is the biggest of all the dogs in the neighborhood.
  • Max is thinner than John.
  • Of all the students in the class, Max is the thinnest.
  • My mother is fatter than your mother.
  • Mary is the fattest person I've ever seen.

Two-syllable adjectives.

With most two-syllable adjectives, you form the comparative with more and the superlative with most.

Two-Syllable Adjective Comparative Form Superlative Form
peaceful more peaceful most peaceful
pleasant more pleasant most pleasant
careful more careful most careful
thoughtful more thoughtful most thoughtful
  • This morning is more peaceful than yesterday morning.
  • Max's house in the mountains is the most peaceful in the world.
  • Max is more careful than Mike.
  • Of all the taxi drivers, Jack is the most careful.
  • Jill is more thoughtful than your sister.
  • Mary is the most thoughtful person I've ever met.

If the two-syllable adjectives ends with –y, change the y to i and add –er for the comparative form. For the superlative form change the y to i and add –est.

Two-Syllable Adjective Ending with -y Comparative Form Superlative Form
happy happier happiest
angry angrier angriest
busy busier busiest
  • John is happier today than he was yesterday.
  • John is the happiest boy in the world.
  • Max is angrier than Mary.
  • Of all of John's victims, Max is the angriest.
  • Mary is busier than Max.
  • Mary is the busiest person I've ever met.

Two-syllable adjectives ending in –er, -le, or –ow take –er and –est to form the comparative and superlative forms.

Two-Syllable Adjective Ending with -er, -le, or -ow Comparative Form Superlative Form
narrow narrower narrowest
gentle gentler gentlest
  • The roads in this town are narrower than the roads in the city.
  • This road is the narrowest of all the roads in California.
  • Big dogs are gentler than small dogs.
  • Of all the dogs in the world, English Mastiffs are the gentlest.

Adjectives with three or more syllables.

For adjectives with three syllables or more, you form the comparative with more and the superlative with most.

Adjective with Three or More Syllables Comparative Form Superlative Form
generous more generous most generous
important more important most important
intelligent more intelligent most intelligent
  • John is more generous than Jack.
  • John is the most generous of all the people I know.
  • Health is more important than money.
  • Of all the people I know, Max is the most important.
  • Women are more intelligent than men.
  • Mary is the most intelligent person I've ever met.

Exceptions.

Irregular adjectives.

Irregular Adjective Comparative Form Superlative Form
good better best
bad worse worst
far farther farthest
little less least
many more most
  • Italian food is better than American food.
  • My dog is the best dog in the world.
  • My mother's cooking is worse than your mother's cooking.
  • Of all the students in the class, Max is the worst.

Two-syllable adjectives that follow two rules. These adjectives can be used with -er and -est and with more and most.

Two-Syllable Adjective Comparative Form Superlative Form
clever cleverer cleverest
clever more clever most clever
gentle gentler gentlest
gentle more gentle most gentle
friendly friendlier friendliest
friendly more friendly most friendly
quiet quieter quietest
quiet more quiet most quiet
simple simpler simplest
simple more simple most simple
  • Big dogs are gentler than small dogs.
  • Of all the dogs in the world, English Mastiffs are the gentlest.
  • Big dogs are more gentle than small dogs.
  • Of all the dogs in the world, English Mastiffs are the most gentle.

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