Common Ground International Impacts Communities Through Language - Learn Spanish - Learn English - Spanish Immersion Trips - Translation

How to Compare in English: More vs Most, Good – Better, Best, etc using the Comparative and Superlative in English

How to Compare in English: More vs Most, Good – Better, Best, etc using the Comparative and Superlative in English

Sometimes we need to compare people, places, or things. When we compare two people, places, or things, we use the comparative. When we compare three or more, we use the superlative. In this posting I talk about how to form and use the comparative and superlative. There will be many example sentences. The download at the end will give you additional practice using the comparative and superlative to compare.

Here is the video lesson on Comparing in English:

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to see all of our lessons and get the latest videos right away!

You can download the practice sheet NOW!

How to compare using the comparative

When we compare two people, places, or things, one is often older, larger, or more expensive than the other. We use the comparative with an adjective to describe these two things. Here is the formula we use when the adjective is a short word–only one or two syllables:

adjective + er + than

Sara is prettier than her sister. 

New York is larger than Denver. 

A house is smaller than on office building. 

If the adjective is a longer word–three or more syllables, use the following formula:

more (or less) + adjective + than

Robert is more intelligent than Joseph. 

London is a more expensive city than Denver. 

Rap music is more popular than opera. 

Opera is less popular than rap music.

We can also add the word much for emphasis.

My parents are much older than yours. 

My classes last semester were much more interesting than my classes this semester.

Some exceptions when we compare two things.

Here are a few exceptions when we use the comparative to compare two things:

good–better than

Going to Disneyland is better than going to the dentist.

bad–worse than

My friend and I both failed the test, but I did worse than she did. 

far–farther than

I live farther from Chicago than from Nebraska.

fun–more fun than (even though fun has only one syllable)

Playing soccer is more fun than studying.

Asking a question when we need to compare two things

Use the following formula when ask a question and need to compare two things. This formula is for a sentence with a short adjective:

Wh word + verb + adjective + er

Who is taller, Bob of Bill?  Bill is taller.   . Note, we don’t need to add “than Bob” because we already know which two people we are talking about.

We use this formula when we compare two things and have a longer adjective:

Wh word + verb + more + adjective

Which city is more populated, Tokyo or Ft. Collins? Tokyo is.

How to compare using the superlative

When we compare three or more people, places, or things, one is usually the biggest, the oldest, or the most interesting one. When we compare in this way, we use the superlative. Use this formula when comparing three or more things and a short (one syllable) adjective:

the + adjective + est

My wife is the prettiest woman in the world.

Denver is the largest city in Colorado.

For longer adjectives (three or more syllables), use this formula:

the + most (or least) + adjective

He is the most intelligent man I have ever met. 

Paris is the most beautiful city in Europe.

Love is the most important thing you can give a child.

Isle Royale is the least visited national park in the United States.

How to compare three or more things in the plural using the superlative

Sometimes we compare things in the plural. For example, we know that there are many large cities in the world. Mexico City is one large city among many. It is only one city. It may not be the largest city in the world, but we know it is larger than many big cities. This is the formula we use:

one of the + adjective or one of the + most + adjective + plural noun

Tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world. . Note, we are comparing Tokyo to all the large cities in the world.

The lion is one of the most beautiful animals in the zoo. . Note, we are comparing the lion to all the animals in the zoo.

Some exceptions when we compare using the superlative

Here are some exceptions when we use the superlative to compare three or more things:

good–better than–the best

This is the best vacation I have ever taken!

bad–worse than–the worst

This is the worst cold I have ever had!

far–farther than–the farthest

Norway is the farthest north that I have ever traveled. 

fun–more fun than–the most fun

We went to the rodeo, and it was the most fun we ever had!

How to ask a question when you need to compare with the superlative

When we compare and need to ask a question using the superlative, use one of these formulas:

Wh word + the + adjective +est

Who is the nicest worker in the office?  Maria is the nicest. or Maris is. or Everyone in the office is nice, but Maria is the nicest.

Which bank is the best bank to work for? The First National Bank. they treat you well.

Wh word + the most + adjective

Which animal is the most frightening one in the jungle? Probably the hyena.

Wh word + one of the  + adjective or  Wh word + one of the most + adjective

Who is one of the prettiest girls in Colorado?  My girlfriend, of course!

Which team is one of the most popular football teams in the NFL?  I’d have to day it’s the Broncos.

How to compare when all things are equal

Sometimes we compare things and find that they are equal. When this happens, we use the following formula:

as + adjective + as

Jose is as tall as his brother.  This means they are the same height.

Algebra is as difficult as geometry.

You now know how to compare two things, or three or more things using the comparative and superlative. We use the comparative to compare two things. We add er to the adjective plus the word the word than. If the adjective is a longer word, we say more plus the adjective. We use the superlative to compare three or more things. We say the, plus the adjective, followed by est. For a longer adjective, we say the most plus the adjective. When we compare a plural noun using the superlative, we say one of the  plus the adjective, or one of the most plus the adjective, plus the plural noun. When two things are the same, we say as, plus the adjective , plus as. The download below will give you additional practice using the comparative and superlative.

You can download the practice sheet NOW!

Idioms of the Day

  1. to turn over a new leaf   — This means to make a change for the better. Martin was late for work everyday, and the boss told him he was going to fire him. So Martin has turned over a new leaf. He comes to work on time every day.
  2. under the weather   — This means to feel sick. I need to see a doctor. I’ve been under the weather for two weeks and I’m not getting any better.

Misty Davidson
Posted on:
Post author

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *