Difference Between Comparative and Superlative

Main Difference – Comparative vs Superlative

Comparative and superlative forms are two of the most commonly used grammatical structures in the English language. They are used to compare and contrast different entities. Comparative form is used to compare two people, objects or ideas. Superlative form is used to compare three or more things. This is the main difference between comparative and superlative forms. Both, superlatives and comparatives, can be used with adjectives and adverbs in the English language. In this article, we’ll look at,

What is Comparative?

How to Form Comparatives?

Examples of Comparatives

What is Superlative?

How to Form Superlatives?

Examples of Superlatives, and

Difference Between Comparative and Superlative Forms.Difference Between Comparative and Superlative- infographic

What is Comparative Form

The comparative form can be used to compare the difference between two people, objects or ideas. In other words, they are used in sentences where two nouns are compared.

How to Form Comparatives

You need to know the number of syllables in a word before you form a comparative.

If the word has only one syllable, you can add ‘er’ to form the comparative.

Ex: nice – nicer, cheap – cheaper, big – bigger

If the word has two syllables and ends with a ‘y’, you can form the comparative by adding ‘ier’

Ex: pretty – prettier, happy – happier

If the word has two or more syllables, the comparative is formed by placing ‘more’ before the adjective or adverb.

Ex: expensive – more expensive, beautiful – more beautiful

Examples of Comparatives

Comparatives can be used with adjectives or adverbs.

Comparatives with Adjectives:

Emily is shorter than Adeline.

My house is bigger than yours.

Gold is more expensive than silver.

Comparatives with Adverbs:

Can you talk more quietly please?

They are working harder than ever.

She arrived a bit sooner than I expected.

Difference Between Comparative and Superlative

Burj Khalifa is taller than the Empire State Building.

What is Superlative Form

The superlative form can be used when the comparison is between three or more things. It is used to discuss an object which is at the upper or lower limit of a quality (richest, bravest, poorest, etc.)

How to Form Superlatives

The formation of superlatives also depends on the number of syllables in a word.

If the word has only one syllable, you can add ‘est’ to form the superlative.

Ex: fat – fattest , cheap – cheapest, big – biggest

If the word has two syllables and ends with a ‘y’, you can form the superlative by adding ‘iest’

Ex: pretty – prettiest, happy – happiest

If the word has two or more syllables, the superlative is formed by placing ‘most’ before the adjective or adverb.

Ex: expensive – most expensive, beautiful – most beautiful

Examples of Superlatives

This is the most modern building I’ve ever seen.

He is the wisest man I’ve ever met.

Our school is the best of all.

Iron is the most useful metal on Earth.

She is the tallest girl in the class.

What’s the shortest route?

Main Difference - Comparative vs Superlative -

Burj Khalifa is the tallest skyscraper in the world.

Difference Between Comparative and Superlative

Function

Comparative is a comparison between two things.

Superlative is a comparison between three or more things.

Preceded by

Comparative adjective is preceded by than.

Superlative adjective is preceded by the.

Formation

Comparative is formed by adding ‘er’, ‘ier’ or ‘more’.

Superlative is formed by adding ‘est’, ‘iest’ or ‘most’.

Image Courtesy:

“Skyscraper compare” By w:User:Greyengine5: Original Diagram, Antilived vectorised, SWFC added by Jklamoi. This vector image was created with Inkscape. – Copied from the English Wikipedia  (CC-BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

“Burj Khalifa under sunrise” Nicolas Lannuzel (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.