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Guide to the Comparative Form and Superlative Form

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The Basics: What Are the Comparative & Subjunctive Form?:

Beginning and intermediate level English learners should study the comparative and superlative forms in order to compare and contrast people and things. This comparative and superlative guide provides structures, examples and practice activities for study in-class or at home. There are also lesson plans for teachers that include focus on these two important English forms.

Use the comparative and superlative form to compare and contrast different objects in English.

Use the comparative form to show the difference between two objects.

New York is more exciting than Seattle.

Use the superlative form when speaking about three or more objects to show which object is 'the most' of some quality.

New York is the most exciting city in the USA.

Detailed Explanations of the Comparative and Superlative Forms:

For the comparative form:

One syllable adjectives -> adj + er
Adjectives ending in y -> adj + ier
Multisyllable adjectives -> more + adjective

For the superlative form:

One syllable adjectives -> the + adj + est
Adjectives ending in y -> the + adj + iest
Multisyllable adjectives -> the most + adjective

Start at the beginning with a guide to the comparative form. Once you have learned this form, continue on to superlative form. You'll quickly notice the similarities!

You can also study both the comparative and superlative at the same time - a good way to review.

Test Your Understanding of the Comparative and Superlative Forms:

Once you've studied the rules - or if you already know the rules - test your knowledge:

Comparative Form
Superlative Form
Comparative and Superlative Form Construction

Teach a Lesson about the Comparative and Superlative Forms:

This comparative and superlative forms lesson focuses on first building understanding of the structure - and of the similarity between the two forms - inductively, as most students are at least passively familiar with the forms. The second phase of the lesson, focuses on using the comparative and superlative forms actively in small group conversation.

For advanced level classes, debate lessons encourage students to use the comparative and superlative forms as they argue the pros and cons of any issue. This debate lesson on multinationals is a good starting point.

Activities Concerning the Comparative and Superlative Forms:

Practice the comparative form and superlative form with grammar chants. Using these chants, you and your classes can practice the structure so that it becomes natural and easy to remember.

Comparative Form Grammar Chant
Superlative Form Grammar Chant
Combination Comparative and Superlative Forms Grammar Chant

Related Grammar:

Both the comparative and superlative forms are used with adjectives. Here are some resources to help you with the basics of adjective use.

What Are Adjectives?
Putting Adjectives into the Correct Order

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