Easy Learning Spanish

Comparatives and superlatives of adverbs - Easy Learning Grammar Spanish

1   Comparative adverbs

 What is a comparative adverb?
A comparative adverb is one which, in English, has -er on the end of it or more or less in front of it, for example, earlier, later, more/less often.
  • Adverbs can be used to make comparisons in Spanish, just as they can in English. The comparative of adverbs (more often, more efficiently, faster) is formed using the same phrases as for adjectives:
más ... (que)more ... (than)
más rápido (que)faster (than), more quickly (than)
Corre más rápido que tú.He runs faster than you do.
menos ... (que)less ... (than)
menos rápido (que)less fast (than), less quickly (than)
Conduce menos rápido que tú.He drives less fast than you do.

2   Superlative adverbs

 What is a superlative adverb?
A superlative adverb is one which, in English, has -est on the end of it or most or least in front of it, for example, soonest, most/least often.
  • The superlative of adverbs (the most often, the most efficiently, the fastest) is formed in the same way in Spanish as the comparative, using más and menos. In this case they mean the most and the least.
María es la que corre más rápido.Maria is the one who runs (the) fastest.
la chica que sabe másthe girl who knows (the) most
la chica que sabe menosthe girl who knows (the) least
EI que llegó menos tarde fue Miguel.Miguel was the one who arrived least late.
  • Note that even though comparative and superlative adverbs are usually identical in Spanish, you can tell which one is meant by the rest of the sentence.

3   Irregular comparative and superlative adverbs

  • Some common Spanish adverbs have irregular comparative and superlatives.
AdverbMeaningComparativeMeaningSuperlativeMeaning
bienwellmejorbettermejor(the) best
malbadlypeorworsepeor(the) worst
muchoa lotmásmoremás(the) most
pocolittlemenoslessmenos(the) least
La conozco mejor que tú.I know her better than you do.
¿Quién lo hace mejor?Who does it (the) best?
Ahora salgo más/menos.I go out more/less these days.
TipWhen saying more than, less than or fewer than followed by a number, use más and menos de rather than más and menos que.
más/menos de veinte cajasmore/fewer than twenty boxes
  • Note that in phrases like it’s the least one can expect or it’s the least I can do, where the adverb is qualified by further information, in Spanish you have to put lo before the adverb.
Es lo menos que se puede esperar.It’s the least one can expect.

4   Other ways of making comparisons

  • There are other ways of making comparisons in Spanish:
  • tanto como       as much as
No lee tanto como tú.He doesn’t read as much as you.
  • tan … como       as … as
Vine tan pronto como pude.I came as fast as I could.
Key points
  • más + adverb (+ que) = more + adverb + (than)
  • menos + adverb (+ que) = less + adverb + (than)
  • más + adverb = (the) most + adverb
  • menos + adverb = (the) least + adverb
  • There are a few irregular comparative and superlative adverbs.
  • There are other ways of making comparisons in Spanish: tanto como, tan … como.

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