What is a comparative adjective?

Adjectives are describing words.  The qualities expressed by an adjective are used to describe a noun. 

Comparative adjectives are used to compare two nouns.  Comparative adjectives show which noun has more of the adjective’s quality than another other.  The word than often follows the comparative adjective and introduces the second noun.

  • Roses are pretty.  Tulips are also pretty.
  • I think roses are prettier than tulips. 
  • Kevin is six feet tall.  Ricky is six feet four inches tall.
  • Ricky is taller than Kevin.
  • Cathy is 75 years old.  Maria is 85 years old.
  • Maria is older than Cathy.


Adjectives describe nouns.

  1. Ricky is smart.
  2. Gina has a pretty dress.
  3. The Lakers are a good basketball team.
  4. Burgers are delicious.


Comparative adjectives compare two nouns.  They show which noun has more of an adjective’s quality.

  1. Ricky is smarter than me.
  2. Gina has a prettier dress than you.
  3. The Lakers are a better team than the Knicks.
  4. Burgers are more delicious than hot dogs.

How are comparative adjectives formed?

For most one syllable adjectives, the comparative is formed by adding -er to the base adjectives.

Adjective – Comparative

  1. soft – softer
  2. small – smaller
  3. loud – louder


  1. The cat’s fur is softer than the dog’s.
  2. The boy is shorter than the girl.
  3. This bulb is brighter than that bulb. 

For adjectives that end in a silent -e, remove the -e and add -er.

Adjective – Comparative

  1. nice – nicer
  2. close – closer
  3. ripe – riper


  1. Gerald was nicer than Samantha.
  2. Chicago is closer than Las Vegas.
  3. The peach feels riper than the pear. 

For most one syllable adjectives that end vowel + consonant, double the consonant and add -er.

Adjective – Comparative

  1. big – bigger
  2. fat – fatter
  3. hot – hotter


  1. Your truck is bigger than my truck.
  2. The black pig looks fatter than the pink pig.
  3. The coffee is hotter than the tea.

For adjectives that end consonant + -y, change the -y to -i and -er.

Adjective – Comparative

  1. dirty – dirtier
  2. happy – happier
  3. lazy – lazier


  1. His pants were dirtier than his coat.
  2. Ellen looks happier than Howard.
  3. Jonathan seems lazier than Alison.

For most two syllable adjectives and all three syllable adjectives, form the comparative with the word more before the base adjective.

Adjective – Comparative

  1. careful – more careful
  2. important – more important
  3. handsome – more handsome


  1. Gary is more careful than Shelly.
  2. Studying is more important than watching t.v.
  3. Craig is more handsome than Eddie.

Irregular adjectives are words that do not follow the regular rules for their comparative and superlative forms.  Here are the comparative forms for some common irregular adjectives.

Adjective – Comparative

  1. good – better
  2. bad – worse
  3. far – farther (further)
  4. little – less (littler)
  5. many – more


  1. The broccoli tastes better than the corn.
  2. My grades are worse than your grades.
  3. Japan is farther than Hawaii.
  4. The pencil weighs less than the book.
  5. He has more than you do.

Basic ESL Workbooks

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