“When you’re used to the raw power of Iggy and the Stooges, everything else sounds kind of precious by comparison.”—Juno explaining why your mixtape is lame
This week, we examine how to create comparative and superlative forms of adjectives. Let’s get started by laying out some syllable-based guidelines.
Making comparisons out of these is a relatively simple affair: just add -er or -est.
Now things get tricky. There is no clear rule for creating comparisons with two-syllable adjectives, but you can stick with the following general guidelines.
For many two-syllable adjectives, just place “more” or “most” in front.
However, if the adjective ends in -y, –er, -le, or –ow, place an -er or -est onto the end.
Unfortunately, there are exceptions to these two rules, and sometimes more than one form of a comparative adjective is acceptable. For example, stupid becomes stupider/stupidest or more/most stupid. When in doubt, just grab a dictionary.
With adjectives comprised of three or more syllables, comparisons become simple once again: Just put “more” or “most” right in front of the adjective.
Of course, irregular adjectives throw a wrench into everything. Good doesn’t become gooder or goodest; we use better or best. Luckily for us, the roster of irregular adjectives is relatively short: just words like bad, far, little, many, and well.