How to write more better: A look at comparative and superlative adjectives

More eloquent or most eloquent? Smarter or smartest? Here’s a guide to remind you of the difference.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

I am smarter than my sister.

Superlative adjectives are used to compare one person or thing with every other member of the group. Superlatives are marked by the suffix -est or preceded by the word most or least.

I am the smartest person in my family.

Comparative and superlatives adjectives are formed in different ways, depending on the base adjective. • If an adjective has one or two syllables, the letters –er and –est are added.

warm, warmer, warmest narrow, narrower, narrowest

• If the adjective already ends in –e, –r and –st are added.

nice, nicer, nicest nimble, nimbler, nimblest

• Some adjectives with two syllables vary, using more for the comparative and most for the superlative:

dashing, more dashing, most dashing

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.