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Comparative Adjective

Comparative Adjective

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                                                        Comparative Adjectives

Hello! In this lesson, we will learn to use comparative adjectives. We will learn the rules of how to form the comparative forms of two types of adjectives and when to use them. We will learn common exceptions to these rules.


In the past, we have learned many adjectives, short adjectives of one or two syllables, and longer adjectives of three syllables or more.
Some examples of short adjectives are "tall, short, fast," and "slow". To form the comparative of these short adjectives, we simply add "er" to the end of the word: "tall -> taller, short-> shorter, fast-> faster," and "slow -> slower".

To form the comparative form of short adjectives ending in a consonant which follows a vowel, we double the consonantand add "er": "big -> bigger", "thin -> thinner".

Some two-syllable adjectives are slightly more complicated, but the concept is the same. To form the comparative of "pretty, easy, lazy," and other adjectives which end with a consonant followed by "y", we change the "y" to "i" and add "er": "pretty -> prettier", "easy -> easier", and "lazy-> lazier".

Some examples of long adjectives are "beautiful, delicious, disgusting," and "difficult". Each of these adjectives has three syllables. To form the comparative form of long adjectives and some short adjectives, we put the word "more" before the adjective: "beautiful-> more beautiful", "delicious -> more delicious," "disgusting -> more disgusting," and "difficult -> more difficult". Some exceptions are words that end with "ed", like "rested" or "tired". Although these are two-syllable words, we say "more rested" and "more tired" for their comparative forms.

Some exceptions to all these rules are the comparative forms of "good" and "bad". The comparative form of "good" is "better". The comparative form of "bad" is "worse".

When we use the comparative adjective to compare one thing or person to another, we use the word "than" in the comparison. For example, we might say "David is taller than Jennifer." or "Jennifer is smaller than David." We might say "Our car is dirtier than their car." or "Their car is cleaner than our car."  

Now that you have an idea of how to form and use the comparative adjectives, let us listen to the dialog.

Jennifer:  I am going to walk to the store. Can you get my scarf? I am shorter than you are.

David: Yes, you are shorter than I am. Here is your scarf.  

Jennifer:  My scarf is prettier than your scarf.

David: My jacket is warmer than your jacket.

Jennifer: My gloves are beautiful. My gloves are more beautiful than your gloves!

David: My gloves are warmer than your gloves.

Jennifer: Yes, your gloves are warmer than my gloves, and your jacket is warmer than my jacket. Hmmm. YOU can walk to the store.

Jennifer starts the conversation by saying "I am going to walk to the store. Can you get my scarf? I am shorter than you are.". Jennifer is comparing her height to David's height. We notice that she uses the short adjective "short" and makes it comparative by adding "-er" to the end of the word. She could have said "I am shorter than you.".  The complete comparison puts together the two thoughts: "You are short. I am shorter." into the single statement "I am shorter than you are short.". However, we do not need to repeat "short" since it is understood. We might or might not repeat "are.".

David replies with a comparison: "Yes, you are shorter than I am.". David uses the short adjective "short" and makes it comparative by adding "-er" to the end of the word to make "shorter". He might have said "Yes, you are shorter than I.".

Jennifer jokes with David by saying "My scarf is prettier than your scarf.". We notice that she uses the two-syllable adjective "pretty", a word which ends in "y" following a consonant. So we change the "y" to "i" and add "-er" to the end of the word. She could also have said "My scarf is prettier than yours." .

David jokes with Jennifer by saying "My jacket is warmer than your jacket.".  He uses the short adjective "warm" and makes it comparative by adding "-er" to the end of the word. He might also have said "My jacket is warmer than yours." .

Jennifer jokes by saying "My gloves are beautiful. My gloves are more beautiful than your gloves!". In this comparison, Jennifer uses the three-syllable adjective "beautiful." She makes it comparative by putting the word "more" in front of the word "beautiful". She could also have said "My gloves are more beautiful than yours.".

David counters with "My gloves are warmer than your gloves.".  He uses the short adjective "warm" and makes it comparative by adding "-er" to the end of the word. He might also have said "My gloves are warmer than yours.".

David statement gives Jennifer pause. As she considers the real-world applications of their comparison repartee, it occurs to her that David, with his warmer jacket and warmer gloves, is better prepared to walk to the store than she is. She says "Yes, your gloves are warmer than my gloves, and your jacket is warmer than my jacket. Hmmm. YOU can walk to the store.".

Now that you understand how to form and use comparative adjectives in English, listen to the dialog again. Listen for the various kinds of adjectives: short, long, and adjectives ending with "y" following a consonant.

Jennifer:  I am going to walk to the store. Can you get my scarf? I am shorter than you are.

David: Yes, you are shorter than I am. Here is your scarf.  

Jennifer:  My scarf is prettier than your scarf.

David: My jacket is warmer than your jacket.

Jennifer: My gloves are beautiful. My gloves are more beautiful than your gloves!

David: My gloves are warmer than your gloves.

Jennifer: Yes, your gloves are warmer than my gloves, and your jacket is warmer than my jacket. Hmmm. YOU can walk to the store.


Outstanding! In this lesson you have learned to form comparative adjectives. You now know how to compare people, places, things, and ideas in English. Use your new skill in your English conversation because "Your English is getting better every day."