The Comparative and Superlative
The ordinary form of an adjective or adverb is called the positive. Some examples: tall, rich, interesting, quickly, slowly, magically.
But you will want to use the comparative of an adjective or adverb to show a contrast between two people or things. The word than separates the two contrasting ideas.
- The comparative is formed by adding -er to most adjectives or adverbs. If the adjective ends in -y, change the -y to -i. Then add -er. Let’s look at a few examples:
tall = John is taller than Juanita.
brave = The captain acted braver than any other soldier.
funny = I thought this book was funnier than that one.
- For longer words, comparatives are usually formed by adding the word more before the adjective or adverb, as in the following:
intelligent = Mike is really more intelligent than Tom.
interesting = Your last article was more interesting than the one you wrote in June.
fluently = Juan speaks more fluently than his father.
- The superlative form describes the greatest or least quality of a person or thing. It is usually formed by adding -est to an adjective or adverb and usually by placing the in front of it. If the adjective ends in -y, change -y to -i. Then add -est. Let’s look at some examples:
tall = My father’s the tallest man in the family.
brave = The wounded man fought the bravest of them all.
funny = He knows the funniest stories.
- For longer words, superlatives are usually formed by adding the words the most before the adjective or adverb, as in the following:
intelligent = I think my grandfather is the most intelligent.
interesting = The most interesting thing about the movie was the music.
fluently = She speaks the most fluently of anyone I know.
|much (singular)||more||(the) most|
|many (plural)||more||(the) most|
|little (amount)||less||(the) least|
Exercise 1 Change the italicized adjective or adverb to the comparative. Use the word in parentheses ( ) to make the contrast. For example, you will see: “Michael is tall. (Bill)” You should write: “Michael is taller than Bill.”
- My sister is pretty. (my cousin)
- Our team played poorly. (your team)
- Uncle William was rich. (Uncle James)
- Raquel can run fast. (her brother)
- The roses are delicate. (the daisies)
- Thomas really works well. (anyone else)
- Finding a job is important. (watching TV)
- Our team played badly. (the other team)
- I don’t have much time. (you)
- This article is interesting. (that article)
- I think the frog is ugly. (the lizard)
Exercise 2 Change the italicized adjective or adverb to the superlative. For example, you will see: “Michael is tall” You should write: “Michael is the tallest.”
- My sister is pretty.
- The good recipes are in this book.
- Your nephew does little work around the house.
- The important idea in the book is learning to be patient.
- Maria swam fast and won a blue ribbon.
- I have many problems.
- I feel that Juan is the intelligent one.
- Bill arrived early and left late.
- The old car costs little money.
- Your pronunciation is bad.
- I think yours is a good idea.
- An SUV is a logical choice for a family car.
- My aunt has much money.
- Alicia spoke brilliantly about the Civil War.
- This brown puppy is small.
If you have completed all the exercises in this chapter with a high degree of accuracy, you are ready to go on to the next stage of the writing program. If you feel you need more review, repeat the exercises that gave you trouble.