Easy Learning Spanish

Comparatives and superlatives of adjectives - Easy Learning Grammar Spanish

1   Making comparisons using comparative adjectives

 What is a comparative adjective?
A comparative adjective in English is one with -er on the end of it or more or less in front of it, that is used to compare people or things, for example, cleverer, less important, more beautiful.
  • In Spanish, to say something is cheaper, more expensive and so on, you use más (meaning more) before the adjective.
Esta bicicleta es más barata.This bicycle is cheaper.
La verde es más cara.The green one is more expensive.
  • To say something is less expensive, less beautiful and so on, you use menos (meaning less) before the adjective.
La verde es menos cara.The green one is less expensive.
  • To introduce the person or thing you are making the comparison with, use que (meaning than).
Es más alto que yo.He’s taller than me.
La otra bicicleta es más cara que esta.The other bicycle is more expensive than this one.
Esta bicicleta es menos cara que la otra.This bicycle is less expensive than the other one.
Grammar Extra!When than in English is followed by a verbal construction, use de lo que rather than que alone.
Está más cansada de lo que parece.She is more tired than she seems.

2   Making comparisons using superlative adjectives

 What is a superlative adjective?
A superlative adjective in English is one with -est on the end of it or most or least in front of it, that is used to compare people or things, for example, thinnest, most beautiful, least interesting.
  • In Spanish, to say something is the cheapest, the most expensive and so on, you use el/la/los/las (+ noun) + más + adjective.
el caballo más viejothe oldest horse
la casa más pequeñathe smallest house
los hoteles más baratosthe cheapest hotels
las manzanas más carasthe most expensive apples
¿Quién es el más alto?Who’s the tallest?
  • To say something is the least expensive, the least intelligent and so on, you use el/la/los/las (+ noun) + menos + adjective.
el hombre menos simpáticothe least likeable man
la niña menos habladorathe least talkative girl
los cuadros menos bonitosthe least attractive paintings
las empleadas menos trabajadorasthe least hardworking (female) employees
¿Quién es el menos trabajador?Who’s the least hardworking?
TipIn phrases like the cleverest girl in the school and the tallest man in the world, you use de to translate in.
el hombre más alto del mundothe tallest man in the world

3   Irregular comparatives and superlatives

  • Just as English has some irregular comparative and superlative forms – better instead of ‘more good’, and worst instead of ‘most bad’ – Spanish also has a few irregular forms.
buenogoodmejorbetterel mejorthe best
malobadpeorworseel peorthe worst
grandebigmayorolderel mayorthe oldest
pequeñosmallmenoryoungerel menorthe youngest
Este es mejor que el otro.This one is better than the other one.
Es el mejor de todos.It’s the best of the lot.
Hoy me siento peor.I feel worse today.
la peor alumna de la clasethe worst student in the class
  • Note that mejor, peor, mayor and menor don’t change their endings in the feminine. In the plural, they become mejores, peores, mayores and menores. Don’t forget to use el, la, los or las as appropriate, depending on whether the person or thing described is masculine or feminine, singular or plural.
Tipmás grande and más pequeño are used mainly to talk about the actual size of something.
Este plato es más grande que aquel.This plate is bigger than that one.
Mi casa es más pequeña que la tuya.My house is smaller than yours.
mayor and menor are used mainly to talk about age.
mis hermanos mayoresmy older brothers
la hija menorthe youngest daughter

4   Other ways of making comparisons

  • To say as … as (for example, as pretty as, not as pretty as) you use tan … como in Spanish.
Pedro es tan alto como Miguel.Pedro is as tall as Miguel.
No es tan guapa como su madre.She isn’t as pretty as her mother.
No es tan grande como yo creía.It isn’t as big as I thought.
Grammar Extra!You use tanto with a noun rather than tan with an adjective in some expressions. This is because in Spanish you would use a noun where in English we would use an adjective.
Pablo tiene tanto miedo como yo.Pablo is as frightened as I am.
Yo no tengo tanta hambre como tú.I’m not as hungry as you are.
  • To make an adjective stronger, you can use muy (meaning very).
Este libro es muy interesante.This book is very interesting.
Grammar Extra!For even more emphasis, you can add -ísimo (meaning really, extremely) to the end of an adjective. Take off the final vowel if the adjective already ends in one. For example, delgado (meaning thin) becomes delgadísimo (meaning really thin).
Se ha comprado un coche carísimo.He’s bought himself a really expensive car.
Está delgadísima.She’s looking really thin.
If you add -ísimo, you need to take off any other accent. For example, fácil (meaning easy) becomes facilísimo (meaning extremely easy) and rápido (meaning fast) becomes rapidísimo (meaning extremely fast).
Es facilísimo de hacer.It’s really easy to make.
un coche rapidísimoan extremely fast car
When the adjective ends in -co, -go or -z, spelling changes are required to keep the same sound. For example, rico (meaning rich) becomes riquísimo (meaning extremely rich) and feroz (meaning fierce) becomes ferocísimo (meaning extremely fierce).
Se hizo riquísimo.He became extremely rich.
un tigre ferocísimoan extremely fierce tiger
Key points
  • Comparative adjectives in Spanish are formed by:
  • más + adjective + que
  • menos + adjective + que
  • Superlative adjectives in Spanish are formed by:
  • el/la/los/las + más + adjective
  • el/la/los/las + menos + adjective
  • There are a few irregular comparative and superlative forms in Spanish.
  • You can use tan ... como to say as ... as.
  • To make an adjective stronger, use muy.

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