What are Comparative Adjectives? Definition, Examples, Rules


In this article, we will learn what are comparative adjectives, it’s definition, examples, different rules, along with a lot of examples.

Let’s explore!

What are Comparative Adjectives? Definition

Adjectives are primarily used to define a noun. But based on their different actions in a sentence, they are classified into different categories. Like when you are looking at comparative adjectives, you need to refer to their functions to understand them better.

So what are they exactly?

Comparative Adjectives Definition

Well, as a definition, we can say that these adjectives are mainly used to compare two things or two people. Unlike superlative adjectives, these are used to compare between only two people or people and not beyond that.

Using this adjective can suggest that one person is better than the other or has better quality than the other person or thing.

Some of the most common examples of such adjectives are,

  • quicker,
  • slower,
  • faster,
  • stronger,
  • wider,
  • broader, etc.

Comparative Adjectives Examples & Uses

Let’s suppose that you are inside your classroom and you are to describe two of your classmates by comparing their qualities and characteristics. So, you have your one friend whose name is Justin, and the other friend is named John.

John looks tall, so you can say that John is taller than Justin. However, John looks skinny. Thus, you can say that Justin is healthier than John. Now, let’s suppose John is a good student so you can say that John is better at studies than Justin. But Justin is a better football player than John.

By using the comparative adjectives, we are actually defining them and also comparing their characteristics and attributes.

Comparative Adjectives Rules 

Just like the superlative adjectives, the comparative adjectives are also formed from the positive form of the adjectives.

Check two simple examples, for understanding –

  • “bold” becomes “bolder”,
  • “brave” becomes “braver”,
  • “Slow” becomes “Slower.”

But much like most other things in grammar, it has some rules as well:

Most one-syllable adjectives

Rule#1 For most of the one-syllable adjectives, the rule is pretty simple as you just need to add “er” to the end.

Like, “Quick” will become “Quicker”.

Rule#2 But if the word ends with the syllable “e”, then you can just add “r”.

Rule#3 In case, if the adjective ends with “y”, it will not follow the above rules. Here, the scenario is different. The word “y” will be replaced with “i” and need to add “er”. It means “y” will be changed into “ier”.

So, you will have to write,

  • “Dry” as “Drier”,
  • “Friendly” as “Friendlier”,
  • “Early” as “Earlier”.

Adjectives Ending With Consonant-vowel-consonant

The rule is just like superlative adjectives as you need to write the final consonant two times before adding the “er”. Like, “Big” will be “Bigger”.

Two-syllable adjectives Ending With Y:

Here also, you will have to replace the “y” with an “I” and then add “er”. Like, if you are writing “ugly”, it will become “uglier”.

Two-syllable adjectives that end in -er, -le, or -ow:

The rule for this is again very simple; you just have to add “er” to the end. So, when you will write “Narrow”, it will be “narrower”.

Other Adjectives That Are Two Syllables Or Longer:

For these types of adjectives, you will have to use the words “more” or “less” with the positive form of the adjective.

Like for example, you will have,

  • “more likely”,
  • “less dangerous”,
  • “more beautiful”, and so on.

But another category is the irregular adjectives which generally use good, well, bad, far, and old. But you will have to know the comparative forms of these words.

  • Good goes into Better
  • Bad goes into Worse
  • Far can go into Farther/Further
  • Old goes into Older.

Farther is used for physical distance, while the word “further” is generally used to state figurative distance.

Older can also go into “elder” especially for a person or living thing and when we are referring to their age.

Check there are so many comparative adjective worksheets available on the internet.

When & How To Use Comparative Adjectives Properly?

Unlike superlative adjectives, you can have more ease of use with comparative adjectives. Here, you can place them immediately before nouns/pronouns, or you can use multiple comparative adjectives to describe the same noun/pronoun. For example,

  • I sold my motorbike and bought a faster and better one.
  • Compared to lions, Cheetahs are faster, quicker, and stronger.

But much like the superlative ones as well, you need to follow certain grammatical rules before using them appropriately.

  • These adjectives can be used to compare only two people or things. If there are more than two people, then you will have to use the superlative degree. Like for example,

Rahim is a better student than Ram, but Ram is a better singer than Rahim.

Tigers are much stronger than Cheetahs, but Cheetahs are much quicker than tigers.

This is also applicable when the group is collectively referred to as a single “thing”, and you are comparing it to the entire group. For example,

Apples are sweeter than oranges, but Oranges are healthier than apples.

The comparative adjectives can also be used when the conjunction is used. It will add two people in the same category; hence it will be grammatically correct.

John is better at playing cricket than Justin, but Jeff is better at playing guitar than both John and Justin.

  • While using the comparative adjectives, you will have to stick to one type at a time, and you cannot use -er ending type and the word more/less together. If the adjective is suitable for both types, you should use only one type. For example,

Pizza is tastier than slices of bacon and Peas.

He is much stronger than he appears.

  • If the adjective is functioning as a subject complement together with the linking verb, only then can the adjective be preceded by an article or possessive. For example,

Between the two shirts, I prefer the longer one.

She sold her bicycle to buy a newer one.

Harry is the younger brother of John.

Comparative Adjectives List

Let’s see a list of comparative adjectives,

AdjectiveComparative
angryangrier
blackblacker
bluebluer
badworse
briefbriefer
blandblander
bossybossier
bigbigger
bitterbitterer
broadbroader
cheapcheaper
bloodybloodier
boldbolder
chubbychubbier
bravebraver
cleancleaner
brightbrighter
busybusier
clevercleverer
calmcalmer
chewychewier
clumsyclumsier
coolcooler
classyclassier
curlycurly
clearclear
creamycreamier
closecloser
cruelcrueller
cloudycloudier
dampdamper
coarsecoarser
deadlydeadlier
coldcolder
densedenser
crazycrazier
creepycreepier
drydrier
crispycrispier
dumbdumber
crunchycrunchier
curvycurvier
cutecuter
darkdarker
deepdeeper
dirtydirtier
dullduller
faintfainter
dustydustier
fancyfancier
earlyearlier
fatfatter
easyeasier
fiercefiercer
fairfairer
flakyflakier
farfurther/farther
fastfaster
fewfewer
freshfresher
filthyfilthier
finefiner
funnyfunnier
firmfirmer
fitfitter
flatflatter
gloomygloomier
friendlyfriendlier
hairyhairier
fullfuller
gravegraver
grossgrosser
gentlegentler
greedygreedier
goodbetter
grandgrander
greasygreasier
greatgreater
happyhappier
healthyhealthier
guiltyguiltier
highhigher
handyhandier
hardharder
harshharsher
heavyheavier
itchyitchier
hiphipper
largelarger
hothotter
humblehumbler
littlelittler
hungryhungrier
icyicier
juicyjuicier
longlonger
kindkinder
latelater
lightlighter
lazylazier
likelylikelier
lovelylovelier
meanmeaner
livelylivelier
lonelylonlier
moistmoister
loudlouder
smellysmellier
lowlower
madmadder
naughtynaughtier
messymessier
rustyrustier
mildmilder
needyneedier
oddodder
narrownarrower
smokysmokier
nastynastier
shallowshallower
nearnearer
smartsmarter
neatneater
scaryscarier
slowslower
newnewer
nicenicer
roomyroomier
noisynoisier
plainplainer
poorpoorer
oilyoilier
oldolder/elder
proudprouder
slimyslimier
politepoliter
quickquicker
rawrawer
soonsooner
prettyprettier
riperiper
riskyriskier
purepurer
ruderuder
saltysaltier
quietquieter
slimslimmer
rarerarer
simplesimpler
sadsadder
richricher
safesafer
shinyshinier
shyshyer
sorrysorrier
wisewiser
roughrougher
sunnysunnier
sanesaner
sharpsharper
skinnyskinnier
strictstricter
shortshorter
wetwetter
weirdweirder
sillysillier
sweetsweeter
wildwilder
sinceresincerer
spicyspicier
strongstronger
sleepysleepier
stingystingier
tastytastier
thirstythirstier
windywindier
smallsmaller
thinthinner
toughtougher
smoothsmoother
softsofter
soresorer
warmwarmer
soursourer
steepsteeper
tantanner
strangestranger
weakweaker
worldlyworldlier
worthyworthier
sweatysweatier
talltaller
thickthicker
tinytinier
truetruer
youngyounger
uglyuglier
wealthywealthier
widewider

Conclusion

So, there you have it, all the details you need to know about the comparative adjectives. I believe this post will help to clear all the doubts you have about this topic. Plus, if you compare the post about the superlative adjectives, then this topic will appear all the more simple to you.

Should you have any further questions, please leave them in the comments section.

Check out a few interesting articles,

What is an Adjective?

How to learn English

Parts of Speech

Spoken English

Common errors in English

Study Windows

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