Adjectives: Which Is Better? Which Is Best?

Contributor: Jennifer Blanchard. Lesson ID: 13658

Which do you like better, and which do you like best? Elephango lessons or Elephango lessons? Ha! Trick question! Come explore these words in this lesson!

categories

Grammar

subject
English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:
  • Which do you like the most out of the following items?

Drag and rank them in order from good, to better, to best!

Now, look at the other side of things.

  • Which do you dislike the most out of the things on the list below?

Drag and rank them in order from bad, to worse, to worst!

  • This was fun, wasn't it?
  • Are you ready for more fun?

Let's get this show on the road!

In this lesson, you will learn how to form and use both comparative and superlative adjectives.

This is important because it will allow your writing to become more detailed and descriptive while accurately explaining the thoughts you are trying to convey.

You just practiced using the idea of comparative and superlatives by ranking items that you liked the most or the least -- maybe without even realizing it!

What Does Comparative Mean?

Comparative has the base word compare.

When you compare something, you are saying how two things are similar or alike. This could also be be an opportunity for you to say how things are different.

So, comparative is referring to the similarities or differences between two items.

For example, you might compare two people by saying one is taller than the other. Or, you might compare two books by saying one is more interesting than another.

What Does Superlative Mean?

Superlative is when you show the greatest degree of comparison among things.

You are comparing something by saying one thing is the most or the least when in relation to others.

For example, you might compare three people by saying one is the tallest and another is the shortest. Or, you might compare three movies by saying one is the funniest and another is the most serious or least funny.

  • Easy enough?

Now, let's apply this to adjectives.

Adjectives are words used to describe nouns (people, places, or things). Keeping that in mind, let's put this all together and look at comparative and superlative adjectives.

comparative

Comparative adjectives are used to compare differences between the TWO nouns they modify. They are usually used in this format:

  • noun (subject) + verb + comparative adjective + than + noun (object)

For example:

  • My car is newer than his.
  • This book is shorter than the one I had read from the library.
  • Your dog barks louder than Tessie's dog.

Sometimes, the second item that you are comparing can be left out, if it is clear from the context what is being referred to.

For example,

  • Crystal and Kayla are both my cousins, but I get along with Crystal better.

(You didn't mention Kayla's name again, but it is understood that she is still the other noun you are discussing.)

Notice how the form of the adjective changed in the above examples when you used comparative adjectives.

  • For short adjectives, you add -er to the end of the adjective.
  • For longer adjectives, you use the word "more" before the adjective that was used.

superlative

On the other side of things, superlative adjectives are used to show a noun has a quality to the greatest or least degree.

Superlatives are used when there are THREE or more nouns to discuss. They are usually used in this format:

  • use most or least before the adjective (if the adjective is more than one syllable)
  • add -est to end of the adjective (if the adjective only has one syllable)

For example:

  • The basketball player is tallest.
  • Mae studies most attentively of all the students in the class.
  • That is definitely the most exciting sentence to read in the letter!

Here are some rules to keep in mind when using comparatives and superlatives in your writing or when recognizing them while reading.

  1. Do not form double comparatives or superlatives. This means that you shouldn't use two of the forms at the same time.

For example, you shouldn't use most before the word while also adding -est to the end of the word. Similarly, you would not use more and also add -er.

Here are other examples that are NOT correct:

  • Steve Jobs was most smartest.
  • Lance Armstrong could bike the most fastest.
  • She was more prettier on her wedding day.
  • Bradley was less smarter than Carol.
  1. Be sure to use the superlative degree (and not the comparative degree) when you are discussing three or more nouns.

For example, "When faced with three comedians, choose the funniest one" would be correct; whereas "When faced with two scenarios, choose the funniest one" would be incorrect.

  1. Be careful with adjectives that, by themselves in their original form, already express the highest degree. You do not need to add a comparative or superlative form to them.

For example, the following words already express a quality to the highest degree:

  • dead
  • single
  • unique

You can't be deader or deadest. The same thing goes with the other two examples given.

These are not the only examples of words that are already to the most degree, but they are ones that are commonly used.

Let's get on over to the Got It? section!

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