Adverbs: Comparing to the Highest Degree

Contributor: Jennifer Blanchard. Lesson ID: 13659

Did you know that adverbs can be used in ways that compare certain parts of speech to one another? This lesson will explain what, when, and how! Check it out!



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

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • What are an adverb's favorite letters? Any idea?

Take a minute and think about it...

  • What did you come up with?

LY are an adverb's favorite letters!

graphic of letters LY

  • How many words can you think of that have -ly in them?

Type them here and count how many you could think of! (You can even download your list if you want.)

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  • Was that easier or harder than you expected?

Keep reading to see why those are the letters that adverbs love best!

In this lesson, you will learn how to use comparative and superlative adverbs in your writing.

This is important because it will help your writing be grammatically correct and allow you to express exactly what you are trying to say when describing certain words.

  • What did you discover when thinking of words that have the letters -ly together?
  • Was it easier or harder than expected to think of words with that letter combination?

The reason why -ly are an adverb's favorite letters is because many adverbs frequently end in those letters!

This understanding will help us as we move on to study comparative and superlative adverbs.

Look closely at these sentences:

Our favorite candidate worked harder than the other candidates we had studied.

Could you speak more quietly please?

I work more efficiently when I wake up early and have a good breakfast first.

The secretary is the one who gets to answer the phone most frequently.

  • What did you notice?
  • What words did you see used?
  • What letters did you see used in many words?
  • Are things being compared in these sentences?
  • What parts of speech are used?
  • What parts of speech are being described?

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Maybe you noticed that the words more and most are used. You might have discovered that -ly was used in quite a few words.

Comparison was happening in those sentences with the use of adverbs. The verbs were being described by those adverbs.

  • So, what can we make of all this information?

Comparative and superlative adverbs!

First, let's look more deeply at the words comparative vs. superlative:

  Comparative Superlative
  • compares what is the same or diffferent between TWO things
  • compares what is the same or diffferent between THREE or more things


Now, let's remind ourselves of some basic information we need to know about adverbs:


  • are used to describe a verb (action word), an adjective, or another adverb
  • explain when, were, or how
  • should be placed as closely to the word they are describing, or modifying, as possible
  • examples: loudly, very, quickly, fortunately (and MANY more!)

Combine comparative and superlative with adverbs, and you get comparative adverbs and superlative adverbs!

For a brief introduction, watch Comparative and Superlative Adverbs from Amal Mansour:

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Let's review how these adverbs are formed:

  Comparative Adverbs
Superlative Adverbs
  • Add -er to the adverb.
  • Add -est to the adverb.
  • If the adverb ends in -ly already, add the word more before the adverb.
  • If the adverb ends in -ly already, add the word most before the adverb.
  • Sometimes, you might use the word less instead of more to show a comparision in the other direction.
  • Sometimes, you might use the word least instead of most to show a comparison in the other direction.


Now, let's look at some examples of comparative and superlative adverbs.

As you'll see, sometimes there are spelling exceptions to the rules above.

For example, if a word already ends in -e, for the comparative form, you just add an -r and not another -e to wrongly end in -eer. If a word ends in -e, for the superlative form, you just add -st and not -est to wrongly end in -eest.

  • Examples always help, right?

They sure do!

  Comparative Adverbs
Superlative Adverbs
  • faster
  • fastest
  • longer
  • longest
  • wider
  • widest
  • lower
  • lowest
  • later
  • latest
  • more or less happily
  • most or least happliy
  • more or less horribly
  • most or least horribly
  • more or less recently
  • most or least recently
  • more or less quickly
  • most or least quickly


  • Who is ready for the Got It? section!

I know you are! Off we go!

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