We can use adjectives to compare objects, animals, people or ideas. These are called degrees of comparison.
When we use an adjective to describe just one object, person, etc., we call this the positive degree. For example: Jenny is strong.
When we use an adjective to compare two objects, people, etc., we call this the comparative degree. For example: Amanda is stronger than Jenny.
When we use an adjective to compare more than two objects, people, etc., we call this the superlative degree. For example: Laetitia is the strongest of all.
Note: The comparative form is followed by “than”. The superlative form is often followed by “of”.
There are important spelling rules to remember when you use the comparative and superlative degrees:
If the adjective has a short vowel (hot, big), double the last letter and add –er (comparative) or –est (superlative). For example: hot – hotter – hottest; big – bigger – biggest.
If the adjective has double vowels or double consonants (black, sweet, young), add –er (comparative) or –est (superlative). For example: black – blacker – blackest; sweet – sweeter – sweetest; young – younger – youngest.
If the adjective ends in –e (wise, brave), add –r (comparative) or –st (superlative). For example; wise – wiser – wisest; brave – braver – bravest.
If the adjective ends in –y (lazy, wealthy), change the “y” to “i” and add –er (comparative) or –est (superlative). For example: lazy – lazier – laziest; wealthy – wealthier – wealthiest.
If the adjective ends in –ful (colourful), –ive (active) or –ous (famous) OR if the adjective has more than two syllables (diff/i/cult), add “more” (comparative) or “most” (superlative). For example: colourful – more colourful – most colourful; active – more active – most active; famous – more famous – most famous; difficult – more difficult – most difficult.
There are exceptions to these spelling rules: