The comparative form of adjectives is used for comparing two objects in a sentence. Let’s look at some examples:
- Alexa is smarter than Mike.
- Alexa is more intelligent than Mike.
In this example, why is it ‘smarter’, but not *’intelligenter’? It all depends on the number of syllables that the adjective has.
In English, when you use an adjective that has one to two syllables, it takes the -er suffix. Here are some examples of adjectives with one syllable:
The same rule applies for adjectives with two syllables which end in an unstressed -y, but note that the spelling changes from -y to -ier.
Words with three syllables need to have the word ‘more’ in front of them in order to show a comparison.
- Successful-more successful
- Intelligent- more intelligent
- Fashionable- more fashionable
- Beautiful- more beautiful
A lot of times in English, there is no one-rule-fits-all. There are some frequently used adjectives which have an irregular comparative form. These you will have to memorize.
One final note to remember is that many learners will use both rules and will say sentences like:
- *He is more faster than me.