You are bound to have stumbled across a comparative adjective before, even if you don’t know the correct term for them. They do exactly what they say on the tin – compare things (nouns) using adjectives (which are describing words if you didn’t already know!).


It’s important to remember that they compare two different people or objects. If you want to compare more than two objects, we use the superlative, which is another lesson entirely.

comparative adjective meaning
comparative adjective meaning2

Adjectives like big and small, or fast and slow are some of the easier ones for you to learn to begin with as they only have one syllable. Then you can move on to some of the more difficult adjectives that exist in English.

big and small example
fast and slow example

forming comparative adjectives with examples

one-syllable adjectives

So, let’s see some examples of comparative adjectives in the real world. Let’s take a nice easy one to start with. The adjective ‘small’ means tiny or little. If you want to explain the difference between two objects using the adjective ‘small’. We simply use the following rule:

  • Object A + be + adjective +er + than + object B
comparative adjective rule - one syllable

As you can see, we’ve added an ‘er’ to the end of the adjective, followed by the word ‘then’. Here are some examples:

  • cheap
    example – The burger is cheaper than the hot dog
  • high
    example – The trees are higher than my house.
  • light
    example – My bedroom is lighter than yours.
  • loud
    example – It is louder at the front than at the side.
  • old
    example – My grandma is older than my grandad
  • short
    example – I am shorter than my son.
  • small
    example – One twin is smaller than the other.
  • strong
    example – Paul is stronger than Michael.
comparative adjective rule - one syllable

Here’s a few picture examples to help you understand.


A mouse is smaller than an elephant.

comparative adjective example - small

A car is faster than a tortoise.

comparative adjective example - fast

one-syllable adjectives ending in ‘e’

If the one-syllable adjective ends with an ‘e’, we simply have to add an ‘r’. Here’ are the most common ones:

  • brave
    example – My big sister is braver than my brother.
  • cute
    example – Lisa’s cat is cuter than yours.
  • large
    example – His slice of cake is larger than mine.
  • nice
    example – My teacher is nicer than yours.
  • ripe
    example – The grapes are riper than the plums.
  • rude
    example – My son is ruder than his sister.
  • safe
    example – Our neighbourhood is safer than Michaels
  • strange
    example – The film is stranger than the book.
  • wise
    example – My grandad is wiser than a wizard.
comparative adjective rule - one syllable ending in e

one syllable – consonant + vowel + consonant

If a one-syllable adjective ends in a consonant + a vowel + a consonant, simply double the last consonant and add ‘er’.

  • big
    example – A camel is bigger than a zebra.
  • fat
    example – My hamster is fatter than my guinea pig.
  • hot
    example – Today is hotter than yesterday.
  • sad
    example – I am sadder now that I have won the lottery.
  • thin
    example – I was thinner in my teens than my twenties.
  • wet
    example – This year is much wetter than last year.
comparative adjective rule - one syllable ending in consonant + vowel + consonant

two-syllable Adjectives ending in y

If a two-syllable adjective ends in a ‘y’, change the ‘y’ to an ‘I’ and add ‘er’.

  • busy
    example – Saturdays are always busier than Sundays.
  • dirty
    example – My car is dirtier than yesterday.
  • easy
    example – The test was easier than yesterday’s test.
  • friendly
    example – Max is much friendlier than his twin brother
  • funny
    example – The clown is funnier than the jester.
  • happy
    example – I’m much happier in this house than my old house.
  • noisy
    example – My new freezer is noisier than the old one.
  • pretty
    example – Laura is prettier than Sammy.
comparative adjective rule - two syllable ending in y

two or more syllable adjectives

If an adjective has two or more syllables, the adjective stays the same and we add the word ‘more’ before it. For example:

  • beautiful
    example – The white cat is more beautiful than the tabby cat
  • boring
    example – Maths class is more boring than Science class.
  • colourful
    example – The houses on the left are more colourful than the ones on the right.
  • dangerous
    example – A crocodile is more dangerous than a swan.
  • difficult
    example – The first exam was more difficult than the last one.
  • intelligent
    example – My dad is more intelligent than my mum.
  • peaceful
    example – It’s more peaceful when the kids are at school than the holidays.
comparative adjective rule - two syllable or more

irregular adjectives

As with everything in English, there are always some things that don’t fit the rules. We call these irregular comparative adjectives. There aren’t that many common ones, so here’s a list for you to learn.

  • bad
    example – I feel worse than I did yesterday
  • far
    example – The lagoon is much further than the lighthouse.
  • good
    example – Tim is better than me at basketball.
  • little (an amount not a size)
    example – The pink hoody is less expensive than the purple one.
  • many/much
    example – I have more money than you.
  • old
    example – I have bigger muscles than my elder brother.
  • well
    example – I feel much better than I did on Monday.
comparative adjective rule - irregular

comparatives test

Practice what you’ve learnt by completing the following activities on comparative adjectives.

First watch these videos and do the short quiz.

Do this speaking exercise by answering the following questions and give your reasons.

Is surfing more difficult than riding a moped?

comparative grammar exercises1

Is a bull more ferocious than a lion?

comparative grammar exercises2

Is football better than rugby?

comparative grammar exercises3

Is a tree more beautiful than a flower?

comparative grammar exercises4

Is the sun brighter than the moon?

comparative grammar exercises5

Is chicken tastier than steak?

comparative grammar exercises6

Is a book more interesting than a film?

comparative grammar exercises7

Is alcohol more addictive than cigarettes?

comparative grammar exercises8