Learning Spanish: Making the Most of Comparatives and Superlatives
More or Less -- Comparisons of Inequality
To make comparisons of inequality, Spanish uses the adverbs más or menos (more or less) in combination with the adverb que (than). With adjectives, adverbs, and nouns the construction is más (or menos) + [adjective/adverb/noun] + que. With verbs, the form is verb + más/menos que. Note the following examples:
Adjective: Este hotel es más elegante que el otro. This hotel is more elegant than the other.
Adverb: El metro se mueve menos rápidamente que el carro. The subway moves slower than the car.
Noun: Tienes mas dinero que yo. You have more money than I do.
Verb: Mi hermano viaje menos que yo. My brother travels less than I do.
The Same As -- Comparisons of Equality
To make comparisons of equality, Spanish uses the following constructions:
1. tan + [adjective/adverb] + como
Adjective: Mi casa es tan grande como la de mi hermano. My house is as big as my brother's.
Adverb: Mi perro caza tan bien como el tuyo. My dog hunts as well as yours.
2. [verb] + tanto como
Mi amiga Cecelia viajaba tanto como yo. My friend Cecelia used to travel as much as I did.
3. tanto/a(s) + [Singular/plural noun] + como
Cunado viajo a la ciudad, tengo tantas maletas como tú. When I travel to the city, I have as many suitcases as you.
The Best or the Worst -- Superlatives
To form the superlative in Spanish, use the following construction:
el/la/los/las + noun + más/menos + adjective + de (The noun preceded by the definite article, followed by más/menos the adjective and de, which is the equivalent of in or of).
Note the examples below:
Ésta es la playa más bonita de California. This is the prettiest beach in California.
Es el hotel menos caro de la ciudad. It is the least expensive hotel in the city.
Irregular Comparatives and Superlatives
In English we say "good, better, best" and "bad, worse, worst." Spanish also has a number of adjectives that have irregular comparative and superlative forms: bueno, malo, grande, pequeño, joven, viejo. Click on the image below to see a chart of these adjectives.
Notes of Irregular Adjectives
1. Use the regular comparative and superlative forms of bueno or malo when referring to a person's character. Examples:
Jorge es más bueno con los estudiantes que Juan. (Jorge is better with students than Juan.)
2. Use the regular comparative and superlative forms of grande and pequeño when referring to size (not age or quality).
Ése es más pequeño que éste. That one is smaller than this one.
Read more online about comparing Spanish adjectives
Go to these web sites for more information:
- About.com:Spanish Language - Comparisons of Inequality: http://spanish.about.com/od/sentencestructure/a/inequality.htm
- Spanish-Kit Spanish Learning Tools - Comparison: http://www.spanish-kit.net/grammar/370.html
- 1-2-3 TeachMe.com - Comparative and Superlative Adjectives: http://www.123teachme.com/learn_spanish/adjetivos_comparativos_y_superlativos_3
For a comparison of English adjectives, please refer to: