Adjectives are words or phrases used to modify nouns. There are three degrees of adjectives: positive, comparative, and superlative. The positive form of an adjective is the infinitive form of the adjective (e.g. he is tall). The comparative form of an adjective is used for comparing two people or things (e.g. he is taller than me). The superlative is used for comparing one person or thing with every other member of their group (e.g. he was the tallest boy in the class). Adjectives make their comparative and superlative forms in different ways, depending on the root of the adjective itself.
1. Adjectives with one syllable
In general, if the adjective has one syllable, then the letters –er or -est are added:
2. Adjectives with one syllable ending in e
If the adjective has one syllable and ends in e, the letters -r or –st are added:
3.Adjectives with two syllables
Adjectives with two syllables vary.
- Some add –er/-est or –r/-st, like 'feeble'
- Some use the word more for the comparative and most for the superlative, like 'famous'
- Many can add the ending or use more and most, like ‘clever’
4. Adjectives with spelling changes
Some one-syllable adjectives that end with a single consonant (e.g. big and sad) double this consonant before adding –er, or –est:
If the adjective ends in y (e.g. happy and greedy) change the y to an i and add –er or –est:
Some common adjectives have irregular comparative and superlative forms that simply must be learned:
When using multiple adjectives to describe a noun there is a specific order for the adjectives. This order is:
- Determiners or limiters
- Observations or subjective remarks
- Origin or source of the noun
- Material of the object
- Qualifier or final limiter. Can be regarded as part of the noun.