GRAMMAR: Comparative adjectives

We use comparative adjectives when we are comparing two different things. This lesson covers six rules to help you use the correct comparative adjectives.

Comparative adjectives Examples of comparative adjectives:

  • Dogs are smaller than horses.
  • Learning grammar is more difficult than vocabulary.
  • I have to get up earlier than my classmates because I live far from school.

Syllables and comparative adjectives

To understand the rules for using comparative adjectives, you will need to know the meaning of a syllable.

A syllable is a single sound. For example, ‘goodbye’ has two syllables – ‘good’ and ‘bye’.

Here are some more examples:

1 syllable words: hot, cold, dry
2 syllable words: happy, tired
3 syllable words: excited, exhausted


When making comparative adjectives, there are 6 rules you need to remember:

Comparative adjectives rule 1 of 6:

With adjectives with one syllable, simply add +er than

For example:

tall > taller than

fast > faster than

high > higher than

Comparative adjectives rule 2 of 6:

If the adjective ends in +y, remove the -y and add +ier than

For example:

happy > happier than

angry > angrier than

busy > busier than

Comparative adjectives rule 3 of 6:

Adjectives that already end in +e only have +r than added.

For example:

nice > nicer than

safe > safer than

late > later than

Comparative adjectives rule 4 of 6:

We add more…than to words with 3 syllables or more.

For example:

intelligent > more intelligent than

beautiful > more beautiful than

interesting > more interesting than

Comparative adjectives rule 5 of 6

Some 2 syllable adjectives have +er than and some have more…than. Some 2 syllable adjectives can also be used both ways. NOTE: 2 syllable adjectives that end in -y, -le, and -er often form the comparative by adding +er.

For example:

honest > more honest than

clever > more clever than OR cleverer than

modern > more modern than

Comparative adjectives rule 6 of 6:

Adjectives that end with a consonant, then a vowel, then a consonant need the consonant doubled.

For example:

big > bigger than (not biger than)

hot > hotter than (not hoter than)

fat > fatter than (not fater than)

Now test your skills with the comparative adjectives exercises!

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