Using the comparative of adjectives in English is quite easy once you have understood the few simple rules that govern them.

Below you will find the rules with examples for each condition.

If you are not sure what a syllable or a consonant is – have a look here.


big, bigger, biggest



Number of syllables Comparative Superlative (see rule)
one syllable + -er + -est
tall taller tallest
one syllable with the spelling consonant + single vowel + consonant: double the final consonant:
fat fatter fattest
big bigger biggest
sad sadder saddest
Number of syllables Comparative Superlative
two syllables + -er OR more + adj + -est OR most + adj
ending in: -y, -ly, -ow
ending in: -le, -er or -ure
these common adjectives – handsome, polite, pleasant, common, quiet
happy happier/ more happy happiest/ most happy
yellow yellower/ more yellow yellowest/ most yellow
simple simpler/ more simple simplest/ most simple
tender tenderer/ more tender tenderest/ most tender
If you are not sure, use MORE + OR MOST +
Note: Adjectives ending in ‘-y’ like happy, pretty, busy, sunny, lucky etc:. replace the -y with –ier or iest in the comparative and superlative form
busy busier busiest

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