What Are Comparatives? (with Examples)

What Are Comparatives? (with Examples)

A comparative is the form of adjective or adverb used to compare two things.

Examples of Comparatives

Here are some examples of comparatives (comparatives shaded):
  • Mark is taller.
  • (taller = comparative of the adjective tall)
  • Mark listens more attentively these days.
  • (more attentively = comparative of the adverb attentively)
  • When you hire people who are smarter than you are, you prove you are smarter than they are. (R H Grant)
  • (smarter = comparative of the adjective smart)
  • Nothing is impossible. Some things are just less likely than others. (Jonathan Winters)
  • (less likely = comparative of the adverb likely)

Forming Comparatives

Often, the comparative form of an adjective or adverb can be formed by adding the suffix -er or by placing more (or less) before.

Here are some examples:

ExampleWord TypeFormedComparative
smalladjectiveadd -ersmaller
quicklyadverbprecede with moremore quickly
quicklyadverbprecede with lessless quickly

However, it is a little more complicated than just adding -er or using more. The section on the right offers more detail on how to form comparatives.

Read more about forming the comparatives and superlatives of adjectives.
Read more about forming the comparatives and superlatives of adverbs.

See Also

Comparatives and superlatives of adjectives Comparatives and superlatives of adverbs Glossary of grammatical terms