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Comparative and Superlative Adjectives - Rules and exercises for intermediate level

Friday, 20 November 2009
Example of comparative and superlative: That is the most expensive hotel in town. Example of comparative and superlative: That is the most expensive hotel in town. This image by stockpick.com is licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

An overview of the comparative and superlative adjectives which explains what rules you need to follow when using adjectives in English with examples and exercises to help you learn. This online lesson in English grammar is designed for intermediate level students.

In the elementary lesson of 'Comparative and Superlative Adjectives' we looked at the basic structure and spelling rules for comparative and superlative adjectives. In the immediate lesson we build on these foundations by revising the basics of the the elementary level and studying the use of more advanced structures with printable exercises.

Form of comparative and superlative adjectives:

In the Elementary level 'Comparative and Superlative Adjectives' we studied the following structures:

1) Comparative with 'than' to compare an object, person or action with another:

  • Tom is younger then his father.
  • Susan is more beautiful than Jen.
  • Swimming is more boring than football.

2) Superlative:

  • He's the oldest in the class.
  • What is the longest river in the world?
  • That hotel is the most expensive in the town.

A few adjectives have irregular forms in the comparative and superlative:

Positive Comparative Superlative
good better best
bad worse worst
little less least
much, many, some more most
far further furthest


3) Before comparatives we can use much, a lot, far (= a lot), a bit, a little and slightly (= a little) to give emphasis:

  • She's much nicer than her sister.
  • Could you speak a little more slowly?
  • Don't go by car. It's a lot more expensive.

4) We can use other ways to make a comparison instead of 'than'. As...as shows that something is the same or equal:

  • Tom's as tall as Michael.
  • I'm as worried as you are.
  • I'm sorry I'm late. I got here as fast as I could.

Not as...as shows that something isn't the same or equal:

  • The city centre wasn't as crowded yesterday as it is today.
  • Peter isn't as rich as her sister.
  • My car wasn't as expensive as yours.

5) The comparative of old is older. We can use elder instead of older when we talk about people in a family:

  • My elder brother is a pilot.

To compare two people we don't use elder but older:

  • My father is older than our neighbour.

The superlative of old is oldest. We can use eldest instead of oldest when we are talking about people in a family:

  • His eldest daughter is 7 years old.
  • Are you the eldest in your family?
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Last modified on Tuesday, 21 February 2017 10:57

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