35 Comparative And Superlative Adjectives | List With Examples + Exercises
Confused by comparative and superlative forms in English? No problem! Check out our list of the 35 most common adjectives with examples to see exactly how these words are used in context. Use the exercises at the end to practise and don’t forget to download your copy of this free study guide!
Are you having problems understanding the comparative and superlative in English? Don’t worry – even native speakers make mistakes with these! In this study guide, we will explain each type of adjective and give you a list of the 35 most common. You will improve your understanding with our native examples and can test your knowledge with the exercises at the end of the guide. Ready? Let’s get cracking!
What are comparative adjectives?
Comparative adjectives are used to compare differences between the two objects they modify (e.g. larger, smaller, faster, higher). They are used in sentences where two nouns are compared:
Noun + verb + comparative adjective+ than + noun.
E.g. The cat ran faster than the dog.
How do I make comparative adjectives?
The way we form comparative adjectives depends on the adjective!
For one-syllableadjectives and two-syllable adjectives ending in‘y’we add an –erto the end of the adjective (e.g. old – older). With short vowels we double the final consonant before adding the –er (e.g. big – bigger), and with adjectives ending in ‘y’ we add an ‘i’ before the –er (e.g. friendly – friendlier).
For two-syllable or longer adjectives (that don’t end in ‘y’) we keep the adjective the same but add ‘more’in front of the adjective (e.g. boring – more boring).
There are also some irregular forms that don’t follow these rules. You will have to learn these separately! For example, the comparative form of far is further, the comparative form of badis worseand of goodis better.
Examples of comparative adjectives
Trains are more expensive than buses in London. (We are comparing two forms of transport: trains and buses. Expensiveis a three-syllable adjective so we keep the adjective the same and add ‘more’ before it)
Hannah is taller than Jane. (We are comparing Hannah and Jane’s height. Tallis a one-syllable adjective so we add –er to the end)
Fruit is healthier than chocolate. (We are comparing two different types of food. Healthyends in –y so we add –ier to the end of the adjective)
Max is better at maths than David, but is worse at maths than Sarah. (We are comparing Max’s ability at maths to David’s and then to Sarah’s. As goodand badare both irregular forms we use better and worse)
With some one-syllable adjectiveswe double the final consonant before adding an –eror –est. For example: big – bigger – biggest, fat – fatter – fattest, thin – thinner – thinnest. If a one-syllable adjective ends in –e, then we simply add an –ror –st. For example: fine – finer – finest.
What are superlative adjectives?
Superlative adjectives are used to describe an object which is at the upper or lower limit of a quality (e.g. the tallest, the smallest, the fastest, the highest).
In other words, they describe extremes. They are used in sentences to compare three or more nouns:
Noun + verb + the + superlative adjective+ noun. E.g. Parrots are the noisiest birds in the jungle.
How do I make superlative adjectives?
To form superlatives, you need to follow similar rules to those above for making comparative adjectives.
For one-syllable adjectives and two-syllable adjectives ending in ‘y’we add –estto the end of the adjective (e.g. old – oldest). With short vowels we double the final consonant before adding the –est(e.g. big – biggest), and with adjectives ending in ‘y’ we add an ‘i’ before the –er(e.g. friendly – friendliest).
For two-syllable or longer adjectives (that don’t end in ‘y’) we keep the adjective the same but add ‘the most’ in front of the adjective (e.g. boring –the most boring).
The irregular forms in comparative adjectives are the same for superlative adjectives. So the superlative form of far is (the) furthest, badbecomesthe worstand goodis the best.
Examples of superlative adjectives
Trains are the most expensive transport in London. (We are comparing trains vs. all other forms of transport. Expensiveis a three-syllable adjective so we keep the adjective the same and add ‘the most’ before it)
Hannah is the tallest person in her family. (We are saying Hannah is taller than everyone else in her family. Tallis a one-syllable adjective so we add –est to the end)
Grapefruit is the healthiest fruit. (We are comparing grapefruit to all other types of fruit. Healthyends in ‘y’ so we add –iest to the end of the adjective)
Max is the best at maths in his class, but is the worst at science. (We are saying that Max is better at maths than everyone in his class, but is worse at science than everyone in his class. As goodand badare both irregular forms we use the best and the worst).
Table: How to form comparative and superlative adjectives
One-syllable adjectives and adjectives ending in -y
adjective + -er
the + adjective + -est
Two-syllable or longer adjectives
more + adjective
the most + adjective
the most interesting
the most boring
A-Z list of 35 comparative and superlative adjectives with examples
angry – angrier – the angriest He was angrier yesterday than he was last week. He is the angriest man I have ever seen met!
bad – worse – the worst (irregular) I think the weather’s worse than last winter as it’s rained nearly every day! This is the worst weather in December since records began!
big – bigger – the biggest Your desk is bigger than mine. You have the biggest desk in the whole office.
boring – more boring – the most boring The film was a bit more boring than I thought it would be. That film was the most boring thing I’ve seen for ages!
cheap – cheaper – the cheapest Your car was cheaper than mine by about two grand (£2,000). Our package deal to Spain was by far the cheapest holiday I’ve ever been on!
clever – cleverer – cleverest I was cleverer when I was younger. Sarah is the cleverest student in our year.
Note that some native English speakers also use the forms ‘more clever’ and ‘most clever’. These forms appear to follow the rules more closely, but they are less popular when it comes to real usage in the UK.
cute – cuter – the cutest Your new dog is cuter than your old one. That is the cutest dog I’ve ever seen!
clean – cleaner – the cleanest The house is looking a lot cleaner than it was this morning. The house is the cleanest it has ever been.
comfort – more comfortable – the most comfortable I would be more comfortable wearing jeans. These are my most comfortable trousers.
dirty – dirtier – the dirtiest That seat looks a bit dirtier than this one. After our walk, my little brother had the dirtiest pair of shoes.
expensive – more expensive – the most expensive It’s more expensive to go to France in the summer (than in the winter). Switzerland is the most expensive country in Europe.
far – further – the furthest (irregular) From London, Liverpool is further than Oxford. Leeds is one of the furthest big cities from London (in England).
fast – faster – the fastest It’s faster to use the self-service checkout at the supermarket. That was the fastest journey I’ve ever been on.
fat – fatter – the fattest She was fatter when she was younger, but she’s lost weight recently. She used to be the fattest girl at school.
funny – funnier – the funniest Dave is funnier when he’s drunk! Apparently, Americans are some the funniest people in the world.
good – better – the best (irregular) Baan Thai has got better reviews than the other restaurants in the area. It has by far the best reviews we’ve read so far.
happy – happier – the happiest I’m always happier in the summer. John is the happiest I’ve seen him in years.
hard-working – more hard-working – the most hard-working Michael is more hard-working than Harry. He’s the most hard-working student I’ve ever taught.
healthy – healthier – the healthiest It is healthier to eat vegetables than meat. The Mediterranean diet is the healthiest in the world.
high – higher – the highest The Himalayas is a higher mountain range than The Alps. Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
interesting – more interesting – the most interesting I found the book more interesting than the film. It was the most interesting film we’d seen this year.
little – less – the least (irregular) I did less work than Hannah this term. Simon has done the least work in the whole team, but has got all the credit!
long – longer – the longest The Nile is longer than the River Thames. The Amazon is the longest river in the world.
loud – louder – the loudest You should give the speech because your voice is louder than mine. Jane has the loudest voice I’ve ever heard!
nice – nicer – the nicest The pasta is nicer than the pizza in this restaurant. The Margherita is the nicest pizza on the menu.
old – older – the oldest As a nation, Italy is older than America. Damascus is thought to be the oldest city in the world.
poor – poorer – the poorest Financially speaking, Greece is poorer than Sweden. Ukraine is one of the poorest countries in Europe.
popular – more popular – the most popular Spain is a more popular holiday destination for Brits than Croatia. Mauritius is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations.
pretty – prettier – the prettiest That dress is prettier than the other one you tried on. I think this is the prettiest dress in the shop.
rich – richer – the richest If you hadn’t wasted your money on fancy cars, then you’d be richer now. Bill Gates is the second richest person in the world.
slow – slower – the slowest The bus is slower than the train. Walking would be the slowest option.
small – smaller – the smallest Peru is smaller than Brazil. Out of Peru, Panama and Brazil, Peru is by far the smallest country.
tall – taller – the tallest The Empire State Building is taller than the Shard. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world.
ugly – uglier – the ugliest That hat is uglier than anything else in your wardrobe! Julie bought the ugliest bag in the shop!
young – younger – the youngest I don’t have any cousins who are younger than me. I am the youngest member of my family.
Quantifiers for comparatives
We can use quantifiers with comparative adjectives to show if there is a big or small difference between the two things we are comparing.
For a big difference use…
A lot The US is a lot bigger than Ireland.
Much Sarah has much longer hair than Anna.
A great deal It is a great deal more polluted in London than Cornwall.
Far It’s far healthier to eat a salad than a burger.
Significantly The company’s sales have been significantly better this year.
Considerably Siberia is considerably colder than Australia.
Way (informal) This week’s homework is way easier than I thought it would be. For a small difference use…
A little The chocolate cake was a little more popular than the lemon sponge.
A bit (informal) First class train tickets are always a bit more expensive than standard ones.
A little bit The UK is a little bit further north than France.
Slightly France is slightly bigger than Spain.
Marginally My hotel room is only marginally bigger than yours.
Some comparative quantifiers are more informal than others so it’s important to know when to use each one. You will find a lot, wayand a bitare very common in spoken English. However, you generally wouldn’t write way or use it in more formal contexts. In these formal situations, you would be more likely to use a great deal, considerablyor marginally.
We don’t use quantifiers with superlative adjectives but there are common phrases that are used with superlatives. These are useful to know as they are very commonly used by native speakers and you will likely hear them a lot!
One of the…
Aramaic is one of the oldest languages in the world. (We are not saying it is necessarily the oldest. Often used when we don’t know something for sure)
The second/third… According to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index, London is the second most visited city in the world.
By far the… In England, the bus is by far the cheapest mode of transport. (Meaning by a long way or by a significant margin)
Exercises: Comparative vs. superlative adjectives
Fill in the correct form of the words in brackets (comparative or superlative).
This tree is (tall) __________ than that one.
The weather this summer is (good) _______ than last year.
Rome is (crowded) __________ city I’ve ever been to.
That was (boring) ___________ film I’ve ever seen!
He’s a lot (friendly) _________ than his wife.
Tokyo is (big) __________ city in the world.
Rewrite these sentences to give them the opposite meaning by using the adjectives in brackets.
My house is cleaner than your house. (dirty)
The bus is the most expensive form of transport in this city. (cheap)
We live nearer to (from) the supermarket than the train station. (far)
The traffic’s worse than I expected. (good)
This is the most interesting documentary on the subject of farming. (boring)
That’s the tiniest frog I’ve ever seen. (enormous)
Match the pictures with the correct sentences below.
House A is a lot smaller than house B – picture 1 or picture 2?
House B is a little bit taller than house A – picture 1 or picture 2?
House A is slightly smaller than house B – picture 1 or picture 2?
House A is significantly shorter than house B – picture 1 or picture 2?
House B is far bigger than house A – picture 1 or picture 2?
One of the greatest challenges when learning English is mastering the spoken language. Conversational English presents problems in terms of both understanding and delivery as it can differ greatly from standard “textbook” forms. Continue reading →