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 tallerthan Max.
  • Mary is the tallestof all the students.
  • Max is olderthan John.
  • Of the three students, Max is the oldest.
  • My hair is longerthan your hair.
  • Max’s story is the longeststory 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 tallest 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 biggerthan your dog.
  • My dog is the biggestof all the dogs in the neighborhood.
  • Max is thinnerthan John.
  • Of all the students in the class, Max is the thinnest.
  • My mother is fatterthan your mother.
  • Mary is the fattestperson 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 peacefulthan yesterday morning.
  • Max’s house in the mountains is the most peacefulin the world.
  • Max is more carefulthan Mike.
  • Of all the taxi drivers, Jack is the most careful.
  • Jill is more thoughtfulthan your sister.
  • Mary is the most thoughtfulperson I’ve ever met.

If the two-syllable adjectives ends with –y, change the y to 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 narrowerthan the roads in the city.
  • This road is the narrowestof all the roads in California.
  • Big dogs are gentlerthan 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.