Comparisons of Adjectives

A comparative adjective is used to compare two things. A superlative adjective is used when you compare three or more things. For example, looking at apples you can compare their size, determining which is big, which is bigger, and which is biggest. The comparative ending (suffix) for short, common adjectives is generally "-er"; the superlative suffix is generally "-est." For most longer adjectives, the comparative is made by adding the word "more" (for example, more comfortable) and the superlative is made by adding the word "most" (for example, most comfortable).

If a 1-syllable adjective ends in "e", the endings are "-r" and "-st", for example: wise, wiser, wisest.

If a 1-syllable adjective ends in "y", the endings are "-er" and "-est", but the y is sometimes changed to an "i". For example: dry, drier, driest.

If a 1-syllable adjective ends in a consonant (with a single vowel preceding it), then the consonant is doubled and the endings "-er" and "-est" are used, for example: big, bigger, biggest.

If a 2-syllable adjective ends in "e", the endings are "-r" and "-st", for example: gentle, gentler, gentlest.

If a 2-syllable adjective ends in "y", the endings are "-ier" and "-iest", for example: happy, happier, happiest.

Some 2-syllable adjectives use the standard "-er" and "-est suffixes", including adjectives that end in "er", "le", or "ow". For example: narrow, narrower, narrowest.

For most adjectives with two or more syllables, the comparative is formed by adding the word "more," and you form the superlative by adding the word "most", for example: colorful, more colorful, most colorful.

Some comparative and superlative adjectives are irregular, including some very common ones such as good/better/best and bad/worse/worst.

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