English grammar – comparison
The weather is hotter than usual this summer! I thought today would be a good chance to review the comparative form.
This July was hotter than last July!
Hotter is the comparative form of the adjective hot.
“30℃ degrees is hotter than 15℃ degrees.”
Basic comparison grammar
Mike is taller than my brother.
The book is usually more interesting than the movie.
~Taller and more interesting are comparative form.
Here is a simple rule for using adjectives to compare two things.
One Syllable Adjectives
add ‘-er‘ to end of the adjective.
Examples: cheap – cheaper / hot – hotter / high – higher
“Yesterday was hotter than today.”
“This computer is cheaper than that computer.”
Two-Syllable Adjectives Ending in ‘-y’
add ‘-ier‘ to end of the adjective.
Examples: happy – happier / friendly – friendlier
“Positive people are happier than negative people.”
“Scott is friendlier than Fred.”
Other two-syllable adjectives and adjectives with 3 or more syllables
use more + the adjective.
Examples: careful – more careful / interesting – more interesting / difficult – more difficult
“The shopping malls are always more crowded just before Christmas.”
“Tokyo is more expensive than Toronto.”
You may have noticed that we often use the conjunction than when things are compared.
Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is cheaper than Starbucks. (Perfect✔)
Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is cheaper Starbucks. (Incorrect✘)
You don’t have to use than in some cases where the meaning is understood.
“I go to the coffee shop beside my office almost every day, but I like Mr. Donut better.” (I like Mr. Donut more than the coffee shop beside my office.)
“The shopping malls are always more crowded just before Christmas.” (More crowded than other times of the year. We can understand this from the sentence.)
Comparison form is a good way to practice adjective opposites
Comparison form is a good way to practice adjective opposites. If you change the noun order in your sentence and change the adjective to its opposite, the new sentence will have the same meaning. Please look at this example.
“Mike is taller than my brother.”
If we change the noun order and change the adjective to its opposite, our new sentence will have the same meaning.
“My brother is shorter than Mike.”
(Mike ← changes position with → my brother)(tall ← opposite → short)
More comparison opposite examples:
“December in Santiago is warmer than December in Toronto.”
“December in Toronto is colder than December in Santiago.”
*Hot can sometimes have a negative feeling, warm has a more positive feeling. Especially when we talk about the weather.
“It’s warm today.” – The feeling is nice.
“It’s hot today!” – The feeling is not so comfortable.
Cool is the opposite of warm, but when we talk about the weather it’s natural to say cold if we want to show a negative feeling.
Santiago weather is warm (comfortable) in December. Toronto weather is cold (uncomfortable) in December.
Uncomfortable ←opposite→ comfortable
*If an adjective’s opposite is longer or shorter, remember to use the correct comparison form.
“Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is cheaper than Starbucks.”
(Cheap has 1 syllable so we add ~er)
Starbucks coffee is more expensive than Dunkin’ Donuts.
(Expensive has 3 syllables so we put more in front)
cheap ←opposite→ expensive
Irregular adjectives comparison form
Some adjectives have an irregular comparison form.
good – better
bad – worse
far – farther / further
2 hands working are better than 100 hands begging.
100 hands begging are worse than 2 hands working.
Ken’s house is closer to the train station than mine.
My house is farther from the train station than Ken’s.
*Grammar point ~
- We use the preposition to with the adjective close.
- We use the preposition from with the adjective far.
There is a convenience store close to the laundromat.
Unfortunately, our hotel was quite far from the beach.
To make the negative form of more + adjective we can replace more with less.
We will change the order of the nouns again and replace more with less. Our new sentence will have the same meaning as the original.
Writing in Japanese is more complicated than writing in English. (The Japanese language uses 3 alphabets!)
Writing in English is less complicated than writing in Japanese.
2 hands working are more useful than 100 hands begging.
100 hands begging are less useful than 2 hands working.
The book is usually more interesting than the movie.
The movie is usually less interesting than the book.
*The grammar in the second sentence above is correct, but it’s not natural. A native speaker might say:
“The movie is usually not as interesting as the book.”
not as adjective as
Another way to compare adjectives is with the pattern “not as adjective as. Please look at these examples:
My brother is not as tall as Mike.
This is like saying “My brother is shorter than Mike.”
Dunkin’ Donuts is not as crowded as Starbucks.
This is like saying “Dunkin’ Donuts is less crowded than Starbucks.”
Bruce’s new laptop is not as heavy as his old one.
~ His new laptop is lighter.
Thanks to CBC News for weather info used in this post and Wikipedia.
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