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6 rules for using comparative adjectives


6 rules for using comparative adjectives. When you are comparing two different things, you need to change the ending of the adjective you use.

Here are some examples:

  • Cats are small.
  • Cats are smaller than dogs. (comparing cats to dogs)
  • Learning grammar is difficult.
  • Learning grammar is more difficult than learning vocabulary. (comparing learning grammar to learning vocabulary)

  • I have to get up early because I live far from school.
  • I have to get up earlier than my classmates because I live far from school.

To understand the rules for using comparative adjectives, you will first 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
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When making comparative adjectives, there are 6 rules you need to remember:

Rule 1 of 6: With adjectives with one syllable, simply add +er than. For example:

  • tall > taller than
  • fast > faster than
  • high > higher than

Rule 2 of 6: With adjectives ends in +y, remove the -y and add +ier than. For example:

  • happy > happier than
  • angry > angrier than
  • busy > busier than

Rule 3 of 6: With adjectives that already end in +e, simply add +r than. For example:

  • nice > nicer than
  • safe > safer than
  • late > later than

Rule 4 of 6: With adjectives with three syllables or more, simply add +more…than. For example:

  • intelligent > more intelligent than
  • beautiful > more beautiful than
  • interesting > more interesting than

Rule 5 of 6: With adjectives with two syllables, there are TWO possible options.

  • Some 2-syllable adjectives have +er than (especially adjectives that end in -y, -le, and -er)
    • happy > happier than
    • bright > brighter than
  • Some 2-syllable adjectives have more… than
    • honest > more honest than
    • modern > more modern than
  • Other 2 syllable adjectives can use either of these options
    • clever > more clever than OR cleverer than
    • gentle > more gentle than OR gentler than

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 a quick test. Click the link in the table below.


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