Although comparisons are odious, they are helpful to get the picture when someone is explaining something to you.

You’ve been studying comparisons for years now but, this year, we are going to pay attention to modifiers which highlight how big the difference is.

So far, you all know:

1. We use comparatives to compare two things, e.g. My house is smaller than my friend’s house.

2. We use superlatives to compare one thing with the rest of the group it belongs to, e.g. This is the most expensive hotel I’ve ever stayed in.

How are comparatives formed?

1. One syllable adjectives: cheap. comparative: add –er (cheaper) –   superlative: add –est (the cheapest)

2. One syllable adjectives ending in ‘e’: nice. comparative: add –r (nicer) –  superlative: add –st (the nicest)

3. One syllable adjectives ending in consonant – vowel – consonant: hot. comparative: add consonant + er (hotter) — Superlative: add consonant + est (the hottest)

4. Two syllable adjectives ending in ‘y’: happy. Comparative: replace y with –ier (happier) –  Superlative: replace y with –iest (the happiest)
5. Two or more syllable adjectives: beautiful. Comparative: add more / less (more / less beautiful) –  Superlative: add the most / the least (the most / least beautiful)

6. Irregular adjectives are good – better – the best /bad – worse – the worst /far – further – the furthest /old-elder-the eldest (for people)

7. We use as + adjective + as to say that two things are equal in some way, e.g. He’s as tall as me and not as/ as to say that two things are not equal in some way, e.g. He’s not as tall as me.

Well, enough about it, this year, the new information you need to learn is:

> When we want to describe a small difference, we use a a little, a bit, slightly, not any, no + comparative, e.g. This car is a bit cheaper than the other / This house is slightly bigger.

> If we want to describe a big difference, we use much, a lot, far, a great deal, considerably.+ comparative, e.g. Bob is much richer than I am.

> We can modify superlatives with by far, easily and nearly, e.g. Mario’s is by far the best restaurant in town. I’m nearly the oldest in the class.

> We can modify equal comparisons with half, twice, three times, etc as + adjective + as, almost as, nowhere near as, (not) nearly as, (not) quite as, e.g. This car is nowhere near as cheap as the other. His son wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as mine.

> If the second part of a comparative or superlative sentence is clear from what comes before or from the context, we can omit it, e.g. Going by bus is very fast, but the train is more comfortable.

> We can use the + comparatives, the + comparative to say that one thing depends on the other, e.g. The sooner, the better.The more I learn about English, the more interested I become.

What about having some practice. Try quiz 1 on comparatives and quiz 2 on comparatives + superlatives

This entry was posted in Face2face Intermediate, Grammar, Lesson 5, Textbook. Bookmark the permalink.

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