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Positive. Comparative. Superlative. beautiful. more beautiful. most beautiful. Comparison of modifiers. A modifier can have three different forms— positive , comparative , and superlative. These forms are called degrees of comparison. That’s a beautiful sunset!.

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comparison of modifiers





more beautiful

most beautiful

Comparison of modifiers

A modifier can have three different forms—positive,comparative, and superlative.

These forms are called degrees of comparison.

That’s a beautiful sunset!

It’s the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen!

It’s more beautiful than yesterday’s sunset.

comparison of modifiers positive
Comparison of modifiersPositive

The positive degree is the basic form of the modifier.

The Saint Bernard is a big dog.

James swims fast.

comparison of modifiers comparative
Comparison of modifiersComparative

The comparative form compares a quality of one thing or action with a quality of another.

Ray swam faster than James did.

The dog on the left is bigger than the other dog.

comparison of modifiers comparative1
Comparison of modifiersComparative

The comparative form is also used to compare one member of a group to all the other members of a group.

Ray swam faster than any other team member.

Ray swam faster than anyone else on the team.

Be sure to include other or else when comparing one member with all the others in a group. We use it in this example because Ray can’t swim faster than himself.

comparison of modifiers superlative
Comparison of modifiersSuperlative

The superlativeform is used when comparing more than two things or actions.

Jacob was the fastest swimmer in the event.

The yellow Lab is the biggest dog in the group.

comparison of modifiers1
Comparison of modifiers

On Your Own

Choose the correct modifier in each of the following sentences.

1. The last chapter was the (sadder, saddest) part of the whole book.

2. Sarah is (old, older) than Suzi.

3. Mom buys (fresh, fresher) produce at the market.

4. Have you seen Mary’s (beautiful, more beautiful) scarf?

5. My little brother makes up the (sillier, silliest) songs I’ve ever heard.

[End of Section]

regular comparison
Regular comparison

Most one-syllable modifiers form the comparative form by adding –er and the superlative form by adding –est.

regular comparison1
Regular comparison

Some two-syllable modifiers form the comparative degree by adding –er and the superlative by adding –est. Others use more and most.

regular comparison2
Regular comparison

Some two-syllable modifiers can form their comparatives and superlatives either way.




more unkind

most unkind

If adding –er or –est makes a word sound awkward, use more and most.


recent, recenter, recentest


recent, more recent, most recent

regular comparison3
Regular comparison

If a modifier has three or more syllables, use more and most to form the comparative and superlative degrees.

regular comparison decreasing comparison
Regular comparisonDecreasing comparison

More and –er and most and–est show increases. To show decreases in the quality a modifier expresses, use less and least.

The main character is less interesting than the minor ones.

The hero of the story is the least interesting character of all.

[End of Section]

irregular comparison
Irregular comparison

The comparative and superlative degrees of some common modifiers are irregular in form.

regular and irregular comparison
Regular and irregular comparison

On Your Own

  • If the comparative or superlative form of a modifier is incorrect or awkward, write the correct form. If the form is correct, write C.
  • 1. This flower is commonlier found in Iowa than in Ohio.
  • 2. That shop sells the most good milkshakes of all.
  • 3. Some days seem to pass slowlier than others.
  • 4. My notebook looks worse than Josh’s.
  • Tonight I will wear my colorfulest shirt.

[End of Section]

double comparisons
Double comparisons

Avoid double comparisons. Using both –er and more is incorrect. Using both –est and most is also incorrect.


This banana is more riper than that one.


That story was the most excitingest of all.

double comparisons1
Double comparisons

To correct a double comparison, first decide whether the comparative and superlative forms use –er and –est or more and most.


more ripe?


This banana is more riper than that one.

Ripe has 1 syllable. Add –er.


most exciting?


That story was the most excitingest of all.

Exciting has three syllables; use more or most.

Then, delete the unnecessary part.

double comparisons2
Double comparisons

On Your Own

  • Identify and correct the double comparison in each of the following sentences.
  • 1. This project is more interestinger than the last one.
  • 2. Our school has the bestest team spirit.
  • 3. The owners of that store are more friendlier to students than they used to be.
  • 4. Isn’t that the most greenest grass you’ve ever seen?
  • This new light bulb gives a more naturaler light than the other one did.

[End of Section]