The rules for forming comparatives (e.g., better, more handsome, prettier) and superlatives (e.g., best, most handsome, prettiest) from adjectives are explained below. As they are quite complicated, some people form double comparatives (e.g., more better, more handsomer, more prettier) or double superlatives (e.g., bestest, most handsomest, most prettiest). These double forms are serious grammar errors.
Forming Comparatives and Superlatives from AdjectivesThe rules for forming comparatives and superlatives from adjectives are varied.
Comparatives of AdjectivesHere are some examples of comparatives of adjectives:
Superlatives of AdjectivesHere are some examples of superlatives of adjectives:
Forming Comparatives and Superlatives from AdjectivesThe table below shows the rules for forming comparatives and superlatives from adjectives:
WHAT IS A COMPARATIVE?
Words like prettier and richer (formed from the adjectives pretty and rich) are known as comparatives. A comparative is used to show who (or what) has a quality to the greater or lesser degree. (In the first example below, the quality being compared is height.)
Words like prettiest and richest (formed from the adjectives pretty and rich) are known as superlatives. A superlative is used to show who (or what) has a quality to the greatest or least degree.
ONLY DO IT ONCE
When forming a comparative or a superlative, be careful not to use a double comparative or a double superlative. This is a common mistake, particularly in speech.
Arguably, there are adjectives that should not have comparative or superlative forms because their meanings already express the qualities to the highest possible degree. For example:
What are adjectives?
Comparatives superlatives of adverbs
List of easily confused words