Comparatives 1

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In this lesson we’re looking at how to use comparatives in English. 

You’ll learn all the ways to form comparative adjectives , and the most popular irregular comparatives. If you’re happy with these rules already, we’ve got two other free comparative lessons that you can find here and here.

Have fun with the lesson, and don’t forget to try the quizzes by clicking on their links below

– James.

Lesson Contents

What are comparatives?

Have a look at these examples:

The adjectives healthier, tastier and faster, are comparative adjectives.

We could have a burger or a salad for lunch. Salad is healthier but burgers are tastier.
Driving is faster than taking the bus.

Forming comparatives

For one-syllable words we add +ER:

thin → thinner
fast → faster
dark → darker
large → larger
big → bigger
slow → slower

Notice that a word that already ends in E (like large) is turned into a comparative by adding just +R.

Also, one-syllable words that end in one vowel and one consonant (like big, thin or fat) have their last consonant doubled before adding +ER.

For two-syllable words that end in Y, we take out the Y and add +IER:

happy → happier
pretty → prettier
ugly → uglier
smelly → smellier
nasty → nastier
easy → easier

For words with two or more syllables that do not end in Y, we add more +:

sensitive → more sensitive
difficult → more difficult
able → more able
willing → more willing
complicated → more complicated
reliable → more reliable

Sometimes you can use +ER or more + with two-syllable words, but only with certain words:


This road is narrower/more narrow than the other one.
This quiz is simpler/more simple than the last one.
Let's go in here, it's quieter/more quiet.

Irregular comparative forms

Some adjectives and adverbs have irregular comparative forms:

Good/well → better:

Are you feeling better than yesterday?
You're much better than last time.

Bad/badly → worse:

My back is worse since you massaged it!
His results are worse than last year.

Far → further:

It was a long hike, further than I expected!