More Smart or Smarter: What's the Difference?

More Smart or Smarter: What's the Difference?

English is a language filled with many oddities as many other languages have. At the beginning of learning, it feels exciting when you can say key phrases and all. And it should feel like that because you need to build up momentum for the real stuff.

While it would be great to only learn the phrases and vocabulary to become proficient. Everyone has their motive for learning English. If you are learning to study in an English-speaking country or planning to immigrate to one. Learning grammar is essential, especially if you are going to be writing a lot.

One aspect of English grammar that you will learn more about in this post is the dreaded comparatives and superlatives. More smart or smarter? I bet you as an English-learner are looking at this thinking, what's the difference? I'm here to tell you that comparatives aren't that bad. Once you get the hang of the formula, it'll be a piece of cake.

What is a Comparative?

Every language has adjectives that are used to compare (hence the name) two objects in a sentence. Comparatives are used to emphasize the differences between two things and the formula goes like this:


We're learning English grammar, why am I bringing math into this? Slow down and bear with me, unless you're one of the few people who are good at math. Having a formula simply make things easier when we have to learn how to set up a grammatically correct sentence. Let's see this formula put into practice below:

  • John is smarter than Kevin.
  • My house is larger than hers.
  • The green shirt is smaller than the red shirt.

For most comparative adjectives you simply need an "er" ending to create the comparisons. But, we all know English is famous for its exceptions. Let's see the ways this might differ depending on the word.

Regular Adjectives

It's very easy to form regular adjectives and you've already seen examples in the previous section. For this part, adding the ending depends on the syllable count of the original adjective.

One-Syllable Adjectives

You can add and "er" onto most comparative adjectives that have one syllable. Keep in mind for these ones that you have to double the consonant spelling in some cases. See the examples below:

  • tall --> taller
  • fat --> fatter
  • big --> bigger
  • sad --> sadder

Note the double consonant in adjectives like sad, big, and fat. The reason you have to double the consonant in the spelling is that those words have a consonant, single vowel, then another consonant.

Two-Syllable Adjectives

Here are other examples of adjectives that follow the "ier" pattern. This form and the "er" forms are used interchangeably, then again one is more common than the other. There is definitely some gray area here with usage.

  • happy --> happier
  • busy --> busier
  • pretty --> prettier

Three Or More Syllable Adjectives

If the adjective has three or more syllables you can keep it in the original form and add more or most in front of it. Pretty full-proof way to come across clear and correct even if you aren't sure.

  • more important
  • more expensive

What is a Superlative?

Meanwhile, superlative adjectives are used to express the quality of things and are normally used in sentences with a group of objects. The formula for the superlatives looks like this:


Here are some common examples of superlative adjectives that you may come across:

  • She ran the fastest out of anyone in the race
  • She has the largest house on the block.

One-Syllable Superlative Adjectives

The regular superlative adjectives are simple. All you need to do is add an "est" ending onto the original word. However, the consonant, single vowel, then doubling the consonant rules as seen for comparative adjectives still applies

* tallest

* fattest

* biggest

* saddest

Two-Syllable Superlative Adjectives

The one syllables follow a general "iest" endings as you will see below:

  • happiest
  • simplest
  • busiest

Three or More Syllable Superlative Adjectives

Just like the three or more syllable comparative adjectives, you just need to slap on most to the original adjective.

  • most important
  • most expensive

All the Irregulars

What is the fun of learning a language without all the mind-boggling irregulars? Here are all the irregular comparative adjectives and superlatives that you will definitely face when learning English.

  • good --> better (comparative) --> best (superlative)
  • bad --> worse (comparative) --> worst (superlative)
  • little --> less (comparative) --> least (superlative)

Now that you have made it through this post, I hope that comparative and superlative adjectives will be less intimidating.

This was just a small piece of information but if you're interested in diving deeper in beginner English, there are online courses available in both beginner grammar and conversational English that you might want to check out.

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