Which house looks BIGGER and MORE BEAUTIFUL?: 5 basic rules to form comparatives and superlatives

When you compare two nouns, use the comparative form of the adjective. Many comparative adjectives end in –er.

We use the superlative form of an adjective to compare three or more kinds. Many words in the superlative form end in -est. We often add ‘the’ before the superlative form of the verb. But some words follow a different rule for their comparative and superlative forms.

We should follow these rules to avoid repeating our mistakes.


With adjectives that end in -e, add -r to form the comparative, and -st to form the superlative.

                       Comparative           Superlative

close                      closer                         closest

large                      larger                         largest

safe                        safer                           safest

wide                      wider                          widest



Some adjectives only have one syllable and end with a consonant with a single vowel before such consonant.

big     mad

dim   sad

With these adjectives, double the last letter before adding –er to form the comparative, and -est to form the superlative.

                       Comparative             Superlative

big                         bigger                           biggest

dim                       dimmer                       dimmest

mad                      madder                        maddest

sad                        sadder                          saddest



Some adjectives have two syllables and end in -y. With these adjectives change y to i. Then add -er to form the comparative, and add -est to form the superlative.

                       Comparative              Superlative

busy                     busier                            busiest

dirty                     dirtier                            dirtiest

happy                   happier                        happiest

pretty                  prettier                          prettiest



With some adjectives, which have two or more syllables, use more to make the comparative form, and most to make the superlative form.

                                      Comparative           Superlative

pow-er-ful               more powerful            most powerful

val-u-a-ble              more valuable             most valuable

bea-u-ti-ful             more beautiful            most beautiful

ac-tive                      more active                 most active

char-ming               more charming          most charming

cheer-ful                  more cheerful            most cheerful

com-fort-able         more comfortable     most comfortable

del-i-cious             more delicious             most delicious



The comparative and superlative forms of some adjectives are completely different words. With these adjectives, you don’t add -er or more to form the comparative, or -est or most to form the superlative.

                   Comparative            Superlative

bad                   worse                          the worst

far                   further                       the farthest

good                 better                             best


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