An Overview of Comparative Modifiers in English

For both written and spoken communication, understanding modifiers is key…

For both written and spoken communication, understanding modifiers is key to emphasizing information and adding details to your words. Adjectives and adverbs have comparative forms, which are important for showing similarities or differences between things. This article provides an overview of comparative modifiers in English grammar.

What Are Comparative Modifiers?

A comparative adjective modifies a noun, typically when it describes two similar or inferior characteristics.

A comparative adjective is often used to indicate differences in size, shape, color, or sound. Examples of comparative adjectives are smaller, sadder, lighter, rounder, louder, closer, and more.

Why are Comparative Adjectives Important?

Comparing things to each other is an integral part of human nature. There is a natural attraction to things that are alike and a natural aversion to things that are different.

Comparing things means saying that one thing is better or worse than the other. This is where comparative adjectives come into play.

In spoken and written communication, the use of comparative modifiers helps the listener and reader to understand the point of a speaker/writer. They are essential to highlight the difference or emphasize the amount or value of things.

Rules to Form Comparative Modifiers

Comparative modifiers are adjectives or adverbs used to compare one thing with another. The comparative and superlatives are usually formed based on the number of syllables in the adjective.

Comparative modifiers are often followed by ‘than.’ Following are some of the standard rules for comparison modifiers:

1. For most one syllable and certain two-syllable adjectives, you must add “-er” to the modifier.

One-syllable Example: Big becomes ‘Bigger.’

Two-syllable Example: Crazy becomes ‘Crazier.’

2. Use the form “more/less + adjective” for the two-syllable adjectives that do not end in ‘-y’ and all three or more syllable adjectives.

Example 1: She is prettier than in the picture.

Example 2: The picnic was more exciting than the last one.

3. Some irregular modifiers don’t fall under any specific rule and can be a word that is entirely different in the comparative form.

Example 1: ‘Bad’ or ‘ill’ becomes worse.

Example 2: ‘Little’ becomes less.

person holding on red pen while writing on book
Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash

Types of Comparison Modifiers

The three types of comparisons are Equal, Comparative, and Superlative. Comparisons can be made with adjectives and adverbs. And comparison modifiers are used to highlight how two or more items are different or similar.

Let’s learn more about the types of comparison modifiers.

1. Equal Comparison

We use an adverb or adjective to show that two things have the same quality. Sharing the same quality in the same amount means two items are equal in a certain way. To demonstrate this comparison, we use the form ‘as adverb/adjective as.’

Example with Adverb: She is working as quickly as you are.

Example with Adjective: The book was as exciting as the movie.

2. Comparative

Comparing nouns (people, objects, etc.) to something else is one approach to describing them. You will need to use adjectives like shorter, bigger, more expensive, and less complicated when trying to compare things.

However, both native and non-native speakers sometimes make the mistake of employing wrongly constructed comparison adjectives. It’s important to take note of the words ending in ‘-er’ and the ones preceding ‘more’ and ‘less’ before the modifier.

Example 1: The house was bigger than we expected.

Example 2: I bought a dress more expensive than the last one.

3. Superlative

Superlative adjectives are used to describe two or more nouns at the highest or lowest level of degree. The term ‘of’ is frequently used after superlatives.

Forming the correct superlatives depends on the number of syllables in the adjective or adverb. The superlative modifiers often end with ‘-est’ or are preceded by ‘least’ and ‘most.’

Example 1: Jenny is the oldest of the three sisters.

Example 2: This is the most interesting movie I have ever watched.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to grammar in English, the language uses modifiers to complete sentences to illustrate comparisons.

Learning how to form these comparison modifiers is essential and relatively easy once you know the fundamental rules! This article is a quick guide to help you get a good grasp of comparisons in grammar.

Frequently asked questions

Which modifier can be used in the comparative degree?

The number of syllables in regular modifiers determines the degree of a level. -er or more is used to form the comparative degree and -est or most is used for the superlative degree of most two-syllable modifiers.

What are the two types of comparison?

Comparative forms serve to compare two persons, ideas, or things. Compare three or more things in the superlative form with the word “the.”.

How do you identify a modifier?

  • Modifiers should always be as close to the words they modify as possible.
  • The subject of the sentence must be modified at the beginning of the paragraph.
  • In your sentence, your modifier must modify a word or phrase.

What are modifiers explain with example?

The modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that modifies—that is, provides information about—another word in the same sentence. In the following sentence, the word “burger” is modified by the word vegetarian: Example: I’m going to the Saturn Café for a vegetarian burger.

What are the 3 types of comparative?

The CAS offers three comparative modes: intraregional, crossregional and transregional. Scholars have used CAS’ comparative rubrics, even without knowing about the CAS agenda or program.

How do you modify comparatives?

Comparative adjectives can be used slightly, a little, hehe, not much or not much. Registrations have decreased slightly, compared to expectations. I am not referring to my city as having houses as much as flats. We can use almost, nearly, not quite, roughly, more or less.. as as and the same as.

What are the modifiers in English language?

A modifier is a phrase, phrase, or clause that affects and often enhances the meaning of a sentence. Modifiers can make a sentence more engaging, precise, or clearer. A modifier is generally an adjective or adverb.

What are comparative words examples?

AdjectiveComparativeSuperlative
happyhappierhappiest
simplesimplersimplest
busybusierbusiest
tiltedmore tiltedmost tilted

How do you explain comparative and superlative?

A Comparative Adjective describes a noun by comparing it with another noun. Comparative adjectives typically begin with ‘e’ and end with a word like ‘than’. Compared to two or more nouns, a superlative adjective is a way to describe an adjective to the highest or lowest degree.

Which are examples of modifiers with comparatives superlatives?

  • Ex. 2.6. Rather (adjective), prettier (comparative) and prettiest (superlative).
  • Ex. 2.7. Excellent (adjective), better (comparative), best (supervisor).

What are the methods of comparative analysis?

Tilly (1984) distinguishes four types of comparative analysis: individualizing, universalizing, variation-finding, and encompassing (p. 82). May(93), as cited in Azarian 2011, adds to the type of comparative analysis.

What are some examples of comparisons?

As compared to two things, “She is smarter than him.” “The car is much faster than the other.” “They are much less wealthy than they used to be.” “He’s a little taller than his sister.

How many types of comparative are there?

An adverb and adjective can be used to make comparisons. It is typically used to show something different about two or more things that is similar to each other. There are three kinds of comparisons: equal, comparative, and superlative.

What is comparative modifier?

Comparative modifiers. Comparative modifiers are used to compare things to others. This is often followed by the word “than”. Add “-er” to the one-syllable modifiers and to the two-separate modifiers. Fast becomes faster.

What are the types of modifiers?

Defining modifiers is done in two forms: adjectives and adverbs.

An Overview of Comparative Modifiers in English

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

What do Participles Modify? A Basic Guide

A participle is a verb form that expresses an action or a state of being. It functions as a modifier…

May 12, 2022

What do adjectives modify? Writing Guide

What do adjectives modify? Adjectives modify nouns. They can identify a person’s mood (the happy receptionist) or status (the rich…

May 12, 2022

Verbal Phrase Modifier: A Basic Guide

Verb phrase modifiers are words and phrases that modify a verb or a verb phrase in a sentence. They are…

May 12, 2022

Prepositional Phrase Modifier: Basic Definition and Better Usage

A prepositional phrase modifier describes or modifies the prepositional phrase in a sentence. What is a Prepositional Phrase? A prepositional…

May 12, 2022

A Basic Guide to Squinting Modifiers

The question “what is squinting modifer?” is more common than you might imagine. What Is a Squinting Modifier? A squinting…

May 12, 2022

Usage of Adverb Modifiers in a Sentence

In grammar, a word modifies another word to add meaning and clarify the word to the reader. Modifiers are typically…

May 12, 2022

Know the Importance of Qualifier Grammar

Understanding the correct usage of qualifier grammar is essential because it is a powerful communication tool in English. What Is…

May 12, 2022

A Grammar Guide to Placement of Modifiers

The placement of modifiers determines how it interacts with the word it modifies. It will help to eliminate confusion for…

May 12, 2022

Modifier Problems: Find & Fix the Errors

Sometimes modifiers can also create havoc — adding words to the sentence that don’t belong but are still supposed to…

May 12, 2022