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8-M) Comparison of adjectives and superlatives (British Council) UNIT 8 lesson M

Here we will learn about the comparison of adjectives.

Read the explanations and then watch the videos below.

SIMILARITY AND IDENTITY (=)

If two things have the same quality we can use AS... AS
- My hands were as cold as ice --> my hands were very cold and ice is very cold
- John is as tall as me --> I am 1.89 ms tall and John is 1.89 ms tall
negative: NOT SO/AS... AS
- Peter is not so old as Sarah
- This park is not as beautiful as the park near my house

INFERIORITY (<)

To express inferiority we use LESS
- Jimmy is less tall than Paul --> Jimmy is 1.69 ms and Paul is 1.72
- Your books are less heavy than mine

SUPERIORITY (>)

To express superiority we have two different forms, depending on how many syllables the adjective has.

Short adjectives (1 syllable)
We add -ER to the adjective and then we use the conjunction THAN.
tall --> taller
nice --> nicer
old --> older
- Paul is taller than Jimmy --> Paul is 1.72 and Jimmy is 1.69
- I like Susan, but Mary is nicer (Mary is nicer than Susan)
- My father is 25 years older than me

 Long adjectives (3 or more syllables)
We put MORE before the adjective and THAN after the adjective.
- Paul is more intelligent than Jimmy
- This film is more interesting than the one we saw yesterday

2-syllable adjectives
If they end in -Y they take the ending -ER.
happy --> happier
easy --> easier
If they don't end in -Y they usually use MORE.
- Tom is more polite now than he used to be
- Hats were more common in the past
But some of them can take -ER or both constructions.

SPELLING

If the adjective ends in -E they just add the -R.
nice --> nicer
late --> later
If the adjective ends in one single vowel + one single consonant, it doubles the final consonant.
fat --> fatter
big --> bigger
thin --> thinner

IRREGULAR ADJECTIVES

These three adjectives have irregular forms for the comparative:
good - better
bad - worse
far - farther

Now you can practise here: Comparatives Exercise. (here you have exercises about the comparative and the superlative, so if you don't know the superlative you can't get some of them right).

INTENSIFIERS (>>)

If we want to express that the two things that we compare are very different we can use MUCH or FAR before the comparison.
- Mark is much taller than Nick --> Mark is 1.86 and Nick is 1.55 ms
- Your house is far more beautiful than mine
In colloquial English we can also use WAY
- A car is way heavier than a bicycle   (heavy --> heavier)
We can intensify it even more by saying:
- He's much much older than me


SUPERLATIVE


The comparative form of the adjectives is comparing two things. The superlative is comparing more than two things:

comparative --> Peter is taller than Mike
superlative --> Peter is the tallest in his family   (he is taller than his father, taller than his mother and taller than his sister)

If you know the comparative of superiority, the superlative is very simple, almost the same.

To make the superlative we have two different forms, depending on how many syllables the adjective has.

Short adjectives (1 syllable)
We add -EST to the adjective and use the article THE.
tall --> the tallest.
nice --> the nicest.
old --> the oldest.
- Paul is the tallest in his family --> Paul is 1.72, his father is 1.70, his mother is 1.69 and his sister is 1.54
- I like Susan and I like Tally, but Mary is the nicest --> Mary is nicer than Susan and Tally
- My grandfather is the oldest man in the village --> nobody is older than my grandfater.

Long adjectives (3 or more syllables)
We put THE MOST before the adjective
- Paul is the most intelligent student in class
- This film is the most interesting film of 2009

2-syllable adjectives
If they end in -Y they take the ending -IEST.
happy --> the happiest
easy--> the easiest
If they don't end in -Y they usually use THE MOST
- Tom is the most polite.
But some of them can take -IEST or both constructions.

SECOND TERM OF COMPARISON

When we compare one thing with a group, the group is introduced by IN (sometimes by OF)

- Tom is the youngest person in his family
- This is the most beautiful flower in the garden
- This is the most important festival of the year

SPELLING

If the adjective ends in -E they just add the -ST.
nice --> the nicest
late --> the latest
If the adjective ends in one single vowel + one single consonant, it doubles the final consonant.
fat --> the fattest
big --> the biggest
thin --> the thinnest

IRREGULAR ADJECTIVES

These three adjectives have irregular forms for the comparative:
good - better - the best
bad - worse - the worst
far - farther - the farthest

INTENSIFIERS (>>)

If we want to express that the three or more things that we compare are very different we can use BY FAR before the comparison.
- Mark is by far the tallest of all --> Mark is very tall and nobody is taller than him
- Your house is by far the most beautiful house in the village

 

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