What is the comparative?
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We use the English comparative to compare and describe things or people:
To do this, we need to use comparative adjectives:
- We need a bigger boat.
- I’m feeling better now.
Let’s look at the formation of English comparative adjectives, there are several types:
Comparative adjectives with one syllable: fast, great, quick, short, small, tall…
It is necessary to add -er
- cheap => cheaper
- high => higher
Comparative adjectives with one syllable ending in ‘e’: close, huge, large, strange…
It is necessary to add -r
- nice => nicer
- wise => wiser
Adjectives that end in consonants /vowel/consonants: fat, red, sad, thin…
it is necessary to add an additional consonant followed by -er
- big => bigger
- hot => the hotter
Adjectives in two syllables ending with -y: heavy, tiny…
you have to replace the -y by -ier
- happy => happier
- crazy => crazier
- early => earlier
- easy => easier
- pretty => prettier
Adjectives in two or more syllables: important, delicious, generous…
It is necessary to add the word ‘more’
- beautiful => more beautiful
- expensive => more expensive
Irregular comparative adjectives:
- good => better
- bad => worse
- far => further
- little => the smaller
How to compare two things
To compare one thing with another you have to use THAN:
- He is three years older than me.
- New York is much bigger than Chicago.
- Zidane is a better football player than Ronaldo.
- Australia is a bigger country than Portugal.
When you want to describe how something or someone has changed you can use the same comparison twice with ‘and’ between them:
- The lake got bigger and bigger.
- Everything is getting more and more expensive.
- My house is looking older and older.
THE is often used with comparative adjectives to show that one thing depends on another:
- The faster you drive, the more dangerous it is.
- The higher he climbed, the colder it got.
- The longer you wait, the harder it gets.
How to say that two things are equal: As… as…
We use as + adjective + as to say that two things are similar or equal:
- He’s as tall as me.
- Tom’s bike is as fast as mine.
We use not as + adjective + as to say that two things are not equal:
- Danny’s car is not as fast as mine.
⚠ We can modify the comparisons with by, far, easily and nearly:
- Burger King is by far better than Mac Donald.
- She’s nearly taller than him.
⚠ Be careful not to confuse superlatives and comparative!
To see the lesson on superlatives click here.