Comparative Grammar

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Making Comparisonsin English: 

Making Comparisons in English

We often use comparisons because we want to talk about the differences between people, places, and things. : 

We often use comparisons because we want to talk about the differences between people, places, and things. Here is an example: Janet’s house is bigger than Tom’s. Tom’s house is a lot smaller than Janet’s. 3. Janet’s house is fancier and more elaborate than Tom’s house.

The comparative forms from the previous example are:-bigger than-smaller than-fancier than-more elaborate thanSo . . . When do we use “–er” and when do we use “more?”: 

The comparative forms from the previous example are: -bigger than -smaller than -fancier than -more elaborate than So . . . When do we use “–er” and when do we use “more?”


How many syllables are the words: “big” and “small?” 1 For 1-syllable adjectives, JUST add “er” to the end. Example: Tom is smarter than Joe. *If the 1-syllable adjective ends with the letter “e,” JUST add “r” to the end. Examples: nicer wiser **If the 1-syllable adjective has a C-V-C pattern, Double the consonant and add “er.”  Examples: San Francisco is wetter than San Diego. San Diego is bigger than San Francisco.


For adjectives that end with the letter “y,” DROP the “y” and add “ier.” Examples: Adjective = fancy Janet’s house is fancier than Tom’s. Adjective = pretty Janet’s house is prettier than Tom’s. Adjective = friendly Alison is friendlier than Susan.


How many syllables is the word: elaborate? 4 (more than 1) For adjectives that are 2 or more syllables, use “more” + the adjective to make the comparative form. Examples: Adjective = elaborate Janet’s house is more elaborate than Tom’s. Adjective = comfortable This chair is more comfortable than that chair.


Irregular comparatives: You MUST memorize these! Examples: good = better than far = farther (further) than bad = worse than Adjective = good Sara’s grades are better than Michael’s.


Grammar Rule: Never use both MORE and “ER!” Incorrect: Lisa’s job is more better than mine. Correct: Lisa’s job is better than mine.


Using “less than” Sometimes we compare two things by using “less than.” To do this, use LESS + adjective + THAN When using “less than,” the adjective DOES NOT CHANGE Examples: He is LESS energetic than my other teacher. This class is LESS crowded than the other one. New York City is LESS polluted than Los Angeles.


There are a few exceptions with comparative grammar . . . These are adjectives that don’t follow the basic rules or that have more than one acceptable form. To learn these, you must memorize them. “fun” We say: more fun funner 2. “simple” We say: more simple OR simpler 3. “narrow” We say: more narrow OR narrower 4. “quiet” We say: more quiet OR quieter


Try these examples. Use the comparative form. I think Social Studies is _________________ (interesting) than Math. 2. San Diego is a _____________ (pretty) city than L.A. 3. A dog is usually _______________ (friendly) than a cat. 4. It is _____________ (hot) today than it was yesterday. 5. My cousin is ______________ (rich) than I am. 6. USE LESS: Some people think that Spanish is __________________ (difficult) than English.


For Additional Explanation and Practice, go to these websites: 1. Comparative / Superlative Explanation and Quizzes: 2. Comparatives Challenge Board Game: If you do these exercises, the grammar will get easier!

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