This post is a part of [GMAT GRAMMAR BOOK
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Comparisons use adjectives and adverbs to indicate degrees of difference, which can be equal or unequal.
An equal comparison shows that two entities are exactly the same, if positive, or not the same, if negative. The word as is used on either side of the adjective or adverb.
Mary is as tall as
her sister. OR
Mary is not as tall as
Sometimes, the word so
is used in the first position of a negative comparison.
Mary is not so tall as
: In correct English, a subject pronoun is always used after the comparison phrase. This is often misused in speech.
Mary is as tall as she
. You are not as old as I
Examples of equal comparisons:
My brother is as big as an ox. (adjective)
Robert is as intelligent as Jane. (adjective)
That sprinter runs as fast as a cheetah. (adverb)
Our choir sings as well as yours. (adverb)
Sometimes, nouns can be used in comparative phrases of equality by using the same
in front of it.
My car runs the same speed as
yours. My car runs as fast as
Their party ran the same length as
the concert. Their party ran as long as
: The opposite of the same as
is different from
. You should never use different than
My ice cream is different from
Their uniforms are different from
Unequal comparatives show that there is a greater or lesser degree of difference.
The word than
is always used at the end of the comparative, unless the object has already been established and is known.
My brother is bigger than
your brother. OR My brother is bigger
. (object known)
The following rules generally apply to this type of comparative.
• Add –er to the adjective or adverb base of most one and two syllable words. (fast = faster; tall = taller; smart = smarter)
• When the adjective or adverb has three or more syllables then you add the word more
without changing the adjective or adverb. (more important; more gorgeous; more intelligent)
• Also, use more
with words ending in these suffixes: -ed, -ing, -ful, -ous, -ish. (more enraged, more careful, more caring, more porous, more bullish)
• With one-syllable words that end in a single consonant and are preceded by a single vowel, the consonant is doubled before adding –er (with the exception of w, x and z). (hot = hotter; big = bigger; red = redder)
• When a word ends in a consonant + y
, change the y
and add –er
. (clumsy = clumsier, funny = funnier, dry = drier)NOTE
: The suffix –er
means the same as more
. It is incorrect to use them together. You can NOT say: more nicer, more uglier, more faster
before the unequal comparative intensifies the meaning even more.
Your outfit is far more fashionable than
A jet is much faster than
Silver is much less desirable than
Nouns can also be used in comparisons, but the correct determiners must be used with countable or uncountable nouns.
Countable nouns use more
+ noun + than
He has more comics than
Non-countable nouns use many, much, little, less
+ noun + as
They have as much food as
Examples of countable and non-countable nouns used in comparatives:
Emily has as little money as I. (non-countable)
I have fewer coins than Emily. (countable)
My friend doesn’t have as much work as Sam. (non-countable)
I have more classes than my friend. (countable)
Positives, Comparatives and Superlatives
Most adjectives have three forms: the positive (sad
), the comparative (sadder
) and the superlative (saddest
If the adjective has three or more syllables then it will usually begin with more
, or most
, without changing the adjective. Study the following chart.
|intelligent||less intelligent||least intelligent|
|beautiful||more beautiful||most beautiful|
Adverbs are also sometimes used as comparatives and superlatives. Usually, adverbs have three or more syllables. If so, they are used with more
for the comparative and most
for the superlative.
She worked more painstakingly than
He behaved more comically than
all the other clowns. (comparative)
That bull acts the most chaotic
of all. (superlative)
That kid cries the most pitifully
of all the rest. (superlative)
The positive doesn’t show any comparison, but simply describes the quality of a person, group, or thing.
The girl is pretty
The doctor is smart
The comparative shows a greater, or lesser, degree of difference between two people, groups, or things. The word than
is used if the object of comparison is mentioned. It is not needed if the object of comparison is understood.
His dad is taller than
yours. OR His dad is taller
This disease is more contagious than
that one. OR This disease is more contagious
Martin is less dynamic than
his brother. OR Martin is less dynamic
The superlative compares three or more people, groups, or things and shows which one is superior, or inferior, to the others.
Sally is the nicest
girl in our class.
Ralph is the most successful
graduate of our school.
This computer is the least expensive
of all of them.
The phrase “one of the”
is commonly used with superlative form to show that one person, group, or thing out of a number of people, groups, or things is the most, or least. When this phrase is used, the “group” noun is plural while the verb is singular.One of the fastest planes
in the world is
Mohammad Ali is one of the greatest boxers
in the world.
Irregular Comparatives and Superlatives
A few adjectives and superlatives used in comparative and superlative phrases are irregular.
Study the examples in the chart below.
|ADJECTIVE OR ADVERB||COMPARATIVE||SUPERLATIVE|
|Far||farther OR further||farthest OR furthest|
|Much or many||more||most|
|Good or well||better||best|
|Bad or badly||worse||worst|
Examples of irregular comparatives and superlatives:
Sally’s cooking is much better than
My car is running worse
it did yesterday.
I live farther
Why do these shoes cost less than
Numbered comparatives can include such words or phrases as: half, twice, three times, four times
, etc. The phrase as much as
is used for non-countable nouns and as many as
is used for countable nouns. The phrase more than
is NOT used with numbered comparatives. It is incorrect to say four times more than
This rock weighs twice as much as
Ronald has four times as much money as
The cat had half as many
When a sentence begins with a comparative structure then the second clause must also begin with a comparative.The harder
you study, the easier
the class will be.The sooner
you get to work, the earlier
you can go home.The more
you resist, the harder
it will be.The more
he studied, the better
he got at Math.
If the phrase no sooner
begins a sentence, the word than
must begin the second clause. Also, notice that the auxiliary verb is placed before the subject in this sentence structure.No sooner
had Lisa hung out the laundry than
it began to rain.No sooner
will I receive my check than
it will all be spent on bills.No sooner
had he began the competition than
he felt a tear in his leg muscle.
Exercise 21: Using Comparisons
Fill in the blank with the correct form of the adjectives and adverbs in parentheses. Supply any other words that may be necessary. Pay attention to the words as
1. This bowl of soup is __________________ (hot) than the last bowl.
2. She acts ___________________ (well) as Sandra Bullock.
3. Jerry’s pet is ____________________ (exotic) than Sue’s.
4. Your graduation gift is ____________________ (good) than mine.
5. My job is ______________________ (serious) as yours.
6. He was ______________________ (determined) than Joe to win the race.
7. Charlie has grown __________________________ (tall) as his brother.
8. She was ________________________ (shock) as I to see the test results.
9. Johnny was ________________________ (truthful) than before in telling his story.
10. I feel _________________________(bad) today than yesterday.
Exercise 22: Using Comparisons: Than, As, From
Fill in the blank with the correct comparative word of than, as,
1. A cat is much quicker ______________ a mouse.
2. The dolphins swam as fast _______________ our boat.
3. Jennifer was much more certain of the answer ______________ Julie.
4. My twin cousin is indistinguishable ______________ the other.
5. Unmanned rockets can now travel much further _____________ the moon.
6. John’s speech was much different _______________ mine.
7. The ball game continued much longer ______________ expected.
8. Our cheerleaders were as good _______________ theirs.
9. Nathan was stronger ______________ Michael, so he won the match.
10. I think crumpets are much tastier ______________ crepes.Think something is missing? Let us know - Help Improve GMAT Club's Grammar Book Project!
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