If someone were to ask you “what is a comparative adjective?” what would your best guess be? The name kind of gives it away, right? A comparative adjective compares two nouns i.e. this man is angrier than that man. It’s truly that simple!
If an adjective is a word that describes a noun, then a comparative adjective is a word that describe a noun by comparing it to something else. Let’s continue with another example, shall we?
Let’s say you have two trees, an oak tree and a maple tree. If you’re a curious soul, you might wonder, “Which tree is taller than the other?” In this case, “taller” is a comparative adjective because it’s comparing two nouns — the trees. Perhaps we would reply, “The oak tree is taller than the maple tree.”
Or, to put it another way, we might say, “The maple tree is shorter than the oak tree.” In this case, “shorter” is the comparative adjective. Both “taller” and “shorter” allow us to describe and compare the nouns at the same time.
All adjectives function in the same way. Whether you’ve got short and simple adjectives like tall, or longer, more voluptuous adjectives like grandiose and effervescent, they all perform the same duty; they modify nouns.
A comparative adjective is just a little different, but once you get used to the system of creating a comparative adjective from a regular adjective it’s like second nature. The difference lies in the number of syllables and the ending of the word. These two components will help you select the proper suffix to add.
For an adjective with one syllable: add the ending –er to the end of the adjective to create the comparative form. For example, tall becomes taller.
For an adjective with two syllables that ends in -y: - drop the y and add –ier. For example, pretty becomes prettier and early becomes earlier.
For an adjective with two syllables that does not end in -y: add the word “more” before the adjective. For example, purple becomes more purple.
For an adjective with three or more syllables: use the word “more” before the adjective. For example, beautiful becomes more beautiful.
As always, there are some exceptions to the basic rules of building a comparative adjective. For example, quiet does not end in y and has two syllables, but we can still say quieter in the comparative adjective form.
If a word ends with the pattern, “consonant – vowel – consonant” then you must follow a special rule when constructing a comparative adjective.
Simply double the last consonant and add –er to the word. This might sound confusing, but when you see it in action, it’s actually quite simple.
For example, big becomes bigger, fat becomes fatter, and thin becomes thinner.
When you use comparative adjectives in a sentence, you usually use the word “than” to structure your sentence. For example: “The oak tree is taller than the maple tree.”
So, to use a comparative adjective in a sentence, structure your sentence as follows:
The oak tree is taller than the maple tree.
Comparative adjectives are simple. They allow us to use proper English to describe two nouns as they relate to one another. Does one have more or less than the other?
Do you think you’ve mastered comparative adjectives? Then, feel free to advance to the next level – superlative adjectives. These guys compare three or more nouns. They favor the -est suffix over the -er suffix. So, come on, keep the adjectival goodness going with What Is a Superlative Adjective?.