ADJECTIVES : Degree of Comparison

Adjective change in form when they show comparison.

Positive Degree: An adjective is said to be in the positive degree when there is no comparison.

Comparative Degree: An adjective is said to be in the comparitive degree when it is used to compare two nouns/pronouns.

Superlative Degree: An adjective is in superlative degree when it is used to compare more than two nouns/pronouns. We use the article 'the' before the superlative degrees.

Formation of Comparative & Superlative Degrees of Adjectives

Adjectives usually form their comparative and superlative degrees:

1) by addition of '-er' and '-est' to the positive degree

bright brighter brightest
black blacker blackest
bold bolder boldest
clever cleverer cleverest
cold colder coldest
fast faster fastest
great greater greatest
high higher highest
kind kinder kindest
long longer longest
rich richer richest
small smaller smallest
strong stronger strongest
sweet sweeter sweetest
tall taller tallest
thick thicker thickest
young younger youngest

2) by addition of '-r' and '-st' to the positive degree ending in 'e'

brave braver bravest
fine finer finest
large larger largest
nice nicer nicest
noble nobler noblest
pale paler palest
simple simpler simplest
wise wiser wisest
white whiter whitest

3) When the positive ends in 'y' and has a consonant before it, we change 'y' into 'i' and then add 'er' and 'est'.

By deleting the final ‘y’ and adding ‘ier’ and ‘iest’
costly costlier costliest
dry drier driest
easy easier easiest
happy happier happiest
heavy heavier heaviest
lazy lasier lasiest
mercy mercier merciest
wealthy wealthier wealthiest

4) when the positive degree ends in a consonant with a vowel before it, we double the consonant & then add '-er' and '-est'

big bigger biggest
dim dimmer dimmest
fat fatter fattest
hot hotter hottest
thin thinner thinnest

5) by addition of '-er' and '-est' to the positive degree when it ends in '-y'

gay gayer gayest
grey greyer greyest

5) by placing 'more' and 'most' before the positive form

active more active most active
attractive more attractive most attractive
beautiful more beautiful most beautiful
brilliant more brilliant most brilliant
careful more careful most careful
courageous more courageous most courageous
cunning more cunning most cunning
difficult more difficult most difficult
famous more famous most famous
faithful more faithful most faithful
important more important most important
proper more proper most proper
popular more popular most popular
splendid more splendid most splendid
suitable more suitable most suitable

Some adjectives do not follow any of the rules explained earlier. They are compared irregularly. Here are the different forms of such adjectives.


bad worse worst
evil worse worst
good better best
ill worse worst
far farther farthest
well better best
late later latest (time)
late later last (position)
little less least
much more most
many more most
near nearer nearest
old older oldest
old elder eldest


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