More /  -er

Compare the quality of two items

apples
 

 

Comparative Adjectives — comparing two items

-ER MORE LESS

With a one-syllable word or a word ending in -y or -ly add the suffix -er to form a comparative phrase with than.

With an adjective or adverb of more-than-one syllable, use more to create the comparative phrase with than.

With an adjective or adverb of more-than-one syllable, use less to create the comparative phrase with than.

The better apple is that one.(good - better)

The more beautiful apple isthat one. 

The less beautiful apple is this one. 

The redder apple is the other one.  (red)

The more flavorful apple comes from this tree. 

The less flavorful apple comes from that tree.

The heavier apple is the yellow one.  (heavy)

The more exceptional apple is the Fuji.

The less exceptional apple is the green one.

The uglier apple is a damaged one.  (ugly)

The more desirable apples come from the top of the tree.

The less desirable apples come from the lower limbs.

 

 

 

Be more / -er Than

-ER MORE LESS

This apple is better than that one.  (good - better)

This apple is more beautiful than that one. 

This apple is less beautiful than that one. 

This apple is redder than the other one.  (red)

This apple is more flavorful than the other one. 

This apple is less flavorful than the other one. 

This apple is heavier than that one.  (heavy)

This apple is more exceptional than that one. 

This apple is less exceptional than that one. 

This apple is uglier than that one.  (ugly)

This apple is more desirable than that one. 

This apple is less desirable than that one. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comparative Adjective Forms

Exceptions

 

 

 

Comparative Adjective Form Exceptions

ONE AND TWO SYLLABLE ADJECTIVES + ER

angry — angrier

friendly — friendlier / more friendly

handsome — handsomer

good — better

busy — busier

gentle — gentler / more gentle

far — farther / further

bad — worse

happy — happier

little — littler

clever — cleverer / more clever*

little — less  (noncount nouns)

ugly — uglier

narrow — narrower

simple — simpler / more simple*

few — fewer (noncount nouns - regular)

funny — funnier

silly — sillier

fun — funner / more fun (see below)

many / much — more

Related page farther / further

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comparative Adverbs

Comparing the Manner of Two Actions

big and little cars
 

 

Adverbs in Comparative Clauses

-ER MORE LESS

Use -er with a one-syllable adverb that does not take the -ly ending (loud, fast, hard, etc.) 

Use more with most adverbs ending in -ly.

Use less with most adverbs ending in -ly.

Can you drive faster than this? 

Can you drive more rapidly than this? 

Can you drive less rapidly than this? 

On this one, you push harder on the brake than on that one. 

You push more forcefully on the brake than on that one. 

You push less forcefully on the brake than on that one. 

This car runs quieter than the other one.  (informal use)

This car runs more quietly than that one. 

This car runs less quietly than that one. 

This car warms up slower than that one.  (informal use)

This car warms up more slowly than that one.

This car warms up less quickly than that one.

See Adverb exceptions. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exceptions

Comparative Adverb Forms

 

 

 

Comparative Adverb Form Exceptions

ONE AND TWO SYLLABLE ADVERBS + ER

bad — worse

high — higher

near — nearer

easy  — easier (informal)

early — earlier

late — later

soon — sooner

loud  — louder (informal)

fast — faster

long — er

well — better

slow  — slower (informal)

hard — harder 

low — lower

 

quick  — quicker (informal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Much -er / More

Emphasizing Modifiers

 

 

 

Emphasis Modifiers to Comparative Adjectives

MUCH -ER

Use much (an adverb) to add emphasis to the comparison word formed with  -er.  (also: much, far, rather, a bit, a lot)

ONE SYLLABLE OR SHORT WORD

This apple is much redder than the other one.  (red)

This apple is much riper than the other one.  (red)

This apple is much tastier than the other one.  (red)

This apple is far uglier than that one.  (ugly)

MULTIPLE SYLLABLES

MUCH / FAR / RATHER / A BIT MORE

Use much (an adverb) to add emphasis to the comparison formed with  more.  (also: much, far, rather, a bit, a lot)

 

~ This apple is far more tasty than the other one. 

~ This apple is much more ugly than that one.  (ugly)

 

This apple is much more beautiful than that one. 

This apple is a bit more exceptional than that one. 

This apple is a lot more desirable than that one. 

 

~ Less commonly used

 

 

 

 

Emphasis Modifiers to Comparative Adverbs

MUCH -ER

Use much (an adverb) to add emphasis to the comparison word formed with  -er. Note that a few adverbs have no -ly form  (good-well, fast–fast, hard–hard, loud–loud or loudly)

ONE SYLLABLE OR SHORT WORD

Mario runs much better than that his sister.  (good - better)

Mario runs much faster than his sister.  (fast–fast)

Mario works much harder than his sister.  (hard–hard)

Mario speaks much louder than his sister.  (loud–loud)

MULTIPLE SYLLABLES

*Mario runs much rapider than his sister.  (rapid–rapidly)

MUCH / FAR / RATHER / A BIT MORE

Use much (an adverb) to add emphasis to the comparison formed with  more.  (also: much, far, rather, a bit, a lot)

 

*Mario runs much more better than his sister. 

*Mario runs much more fastly than his sister.   (The adverb form of fast is fast.)

*Mario runs much more hardly than his sister.   (The adverb form of hard is hard.)

Mario speaks much more loudly than his sister.  (loud–loudly)  

 

Mario runs much more rapidly than his sister. 

Mario speaks much more quickly than his sister.

Mario chooses his words much more thoughtfully than his sister. 

Mario speaks much more loudly than his brother.

 

*Yellow highlighted words are examples of incorrect usage.
?borderline usage
Also see Adverbs of Manner–Other Forms   (good, fast, hard, loud)
Related page: Much / More   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Than I / Than Me

Shortened Comparative Clauses

 

 

 

Than I vs. Than me

SUBJECT PRONOUN IN CLAUSE (formal)

Informally, than is followed by a clause reduced to a subject pronoun and optionally the auxiliary verb. The verbs are parallel (same tense). The main verb is not usually repeated after than . Formally, the subject pronoun is preferred.

REDUCED CLAUSE FORM

You speak more languages than I .

You speak more languages than I do.

You speak more languages than I speak.

You are lighter than he.

You are lighter than he is.

Chelsea liked the movie more than we.

Chelsea liked the movie more than we did.

Chelsea liked the movie more than we liked it.

He has a newer car than they. 

He has a newer car than they do / have.   (Br – Eng.)

OBJECT PRONOUN IN PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE

In linguistic analysis, than is a preposition, and a preposition may be followed by a noun, an object pronoun (accusative), or by a clause. This usage is considered informal by some.              

PREPOSITION + OBJECT PRONOUN

You speak more languages than me.

*You speak more languages than me do.

*You speak more languages than me speak.

You are lighter than him.

*You are lighter than him is.

Chelsea liked the movie more than we.

*Chelsea liked the movie more than we did.

*Chelsea liked the movie more than we liked it.

He has a newer car than them.

*He has a newer car than them have.

 

In current linguistic analysis, than is a preposition, and a preposition may be followed by a noun, an accusative pronoun, or by a clause.  (Swan 139.6, 429.2) (Huddleston 460, 1113)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

Tesla
 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

~There are several new electric cars on the market.  Tesla is a faster car.   Compared to what?

~I bought a prettier dress.  Do you want to see it.   Compared to what?

~Eleni and Maria are a bit shorter than me.    

*I was working more quickly than he did.
 

Many more students wanting to buy textbooks for their classes prefer to buy them online rather than in a bookstore.    

SOLUTION

Tesla is a fast car. 

Tesla is a faster car than the other electric cars on the market.

I bought a pretty dress.  It is prettier than the one I returned.

We usually state the two items in the comparison unless the second item is understood from earlier mention or shared knowledge. 

Eleni and Maria are a bit shorter than I.   /  I am.

Using the object pronoun after a comparative expression with "than" is considered informal by some.   

I was working more quickly than he was. [was working]
Use parallel verb forms when making a comparison.

Many more students wanting to buy textbooks for their classes prefer to buy them online rather than in a bookstore.    

The expression for comparison is more…than, and the expression for preference is X rather than Y.   

 

pop question Pop-Q  "Shorter than"Many more" (rather than)
*Yellow highlighted words are examples of incorrect usage.
~ Questionable usage; used by some speakers but not others

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Traditional and Linguistic Description

video game
This game is funner!
 

 

Traditional and Linguistic Description

TRADITIONAL DESCRIPTION LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

more is the comparative form of much and many. (The superlative is most.)

One-syllable adjectives normally have comparatives ending in -er. Adjectives with more syllables usually form a comaprative with more. (Swan 137-9)

more than is a comparative expression

more "the better of the two" (Huddleston 13 §6) 

than is treated as a subordinating conjunction within the the subordinated clause

A gap may occur in the second clause.

He spends more time in school than __ at home.  [verbless clause]

He has more friends than __ family. [verbless clause]

More students applied than __ were accepted. [verbless clause]

After comparatives than is used instead of that.

Comparatives are used to compare two items. Superlatives compare one item or person with a group.

In informal style, object pronouns follow than. He's faster than me.(Swan 139)

If the pronoun is understood as object or complement of a preposition it is accusative… (Huddleston 13 §2.1 (f)

Object pronoun:  (complement to the verb)

He helped me more than her. 

Subject pronoun: 

He learns faster than me.  [informal]

He learns faster than I (do).  [formal]

 

 

Language Change

 

Fun — Noun vs. Adjective

NEW USAGE COMPARATIVE FORM

The word fun is a word that is changing in use. Originally used as a noun, it started to be used as a noun modifier and then an adjective dating to around 1850 to 1950. Currently, it is being used as a modifier along side of an earlier adjective form – funny. Both words are in use now with different meanings.

The comparative form of fun is currently more fun; however, advertising is starting to use the expected grammatical pattern of funner. The use may change in time to the -er comparative form or it may remain frozen with the 'more' form.

Let's have some fun. a noun 

This is game is fun.  an adjective - informal use (amusing)

This is a fun game. an adjective - informal use

This is a funny game.   an adjective - causes laughter, or is odd or peculiar 

*The new version is funner than the last one.  causes more amusement -  informal use!

The new version is more fun than the last one. informal to formal use

The new version is funnier than the last one. causes more laughter, or is odder

solution  Pop-Q "Funner"

*Yellow highlighted words are examples of incorrect usage.

 

 

 

Comments on "fun"

fun. This modernish noun (first recorded in 1700 and stigmatized by Johnson as 'a low cant word') has become an informal quasi-adj., esp. in the second half of the 20C. We had a fun time, exclaims many a young person after a party, an outing, a holiday, etc., or It was a fun thing to do, meaning 'an amusing or enjoyable thing'. But it has not yet gained admission to the standard class of adjectives in that, in serious writing, it (so far) lacks a comparative and a superlative.  In ordinary attributive use fun is quite frequent, esp. in funfair, the American word funfest (a gathering for the purpose of amusement), and fun run (an invention of the 1970s). (Burchfield 319)

Fun, traditionally a noun has come into vogue as an adjective — but only as a "casualism".  Why has the usage changed here? Two main reasons. (1) Unlike other nouns of emotion, fun hasn't had a corresponding adjective to mean "productive of fun." Funny long ago took on other senses such as "risible" and "weird." Most other nouns of emotion have adjectives that mean "productive of" <excitement–exciting> <fear–fearful> <gloom–gloomy> <sadness–sad>. But not fun, which is among the most popular nouns of emotion.

(2) Because fun is always a mass noun, it never appears with an article.  So although we may say 'This is a pleasure of a joy, we cannot say *a fun. Instead we say This is fun—and this predicate noun looks as if it might be a predicate adjective. (Garner 379)

fun A few commentators and handbooks deplore the use of fun as an adjective, several other term it informal, and a couple who dislike it themselves still note how nouns have a way of turning into adjectives in English…. 

The [OED] Supplement calls it as attributive use of the noun passing into an adjective and cites examples from the middle of the 19th century on, inducing this title from 1853…

As an attributive adjective, fun is not often found in elevated contexts; as a quasi-predicate adjective, it is found in all contexts. (Merriam-Webster 469-70)

 

 

 

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Comparing Two Auto Models

The Smart car – the Yaris
The Smart car vs. Toyota Yaris
 

 

 

Read the given information (not factual) and then make a comparative statement.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

1.



2.


3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

 

"2010 Smart for two Comparisons" Automotive.com. Source Interlink Media, LLC. 2012. Web. Sep 9 2012. < http://www.automotive.com/2010/12/smart/fortwo/compare/index.html>.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Comparing Abilities (actions)

MarioLucas
 

 

Complete the sentence with a comparative.

  1. Select the word or words that best complete the sentence.
  2. Compare your response to the answer to the right by clicking the "check" button.
13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

19.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Phone Features

A text message
 

 

Shorten the comparative clause.

  1. Select the word or words that best complete the sentence.
  2. Compare your response to the answer to the right by clicking the "check" button.
20.

21.

22.

23.

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25.

26.