Making Comparisons
with Adjectives
and Adverbs
 

Worksheet Objective:
To learn the different types of adjectives and adverbs and how to use them correctly in sentences.

There are multiple worksheets that cover modifiers. When you complete this one, be sure to move on to the next.


A modifier is a word or phrase that explains or describes other words in a sentence.   There are two kinds of modifiers:  adjectives and adverbs.  Phrases and clauses can also be modifiers.  Modifiers make writing more colorful.

While nouns and verbs give the sentence their main structure by telling what the sentence is about and what is happening, modifiers add interest by describing the nouns and verbs.


Making Comparisons with Adjectives and Adverbs
When writing, you often want to compare different things or actions.  Adjectives are used to compare people, places, things, and ideas.  Adverbs are used to compare actions.

Josiah is tall.
Josiah is taller than Jackson.
Josiah is the tallest person in his class.

In the first sentence, the basic form of the adjective tall is used.  In the second sentence, the adjective taller is used to compare two people, Josiah and Jackson.  In the third sentence, tallest is used to compare three or more people.  These are the three degrees of comparison.  Both adjectives and adverbs have these same three degrees.  Here is an example of an adverb and its three degrees of comparison:

Muriel is happy.
Muriel is happier than Suzanne.
Muriel is the happiest of the three sisters.

The three degrees or levels of comparisons have specific names.  On the high school equivalency test, you will not be asked to identify what each degree is called, just know how to use the adverbs and adjectives correctly. 

Following are the three levels of comparison, what they are called, and rules for forming them:
The simple form of a modifier is called the positive degree.
          Anita is tall.   
          Josh runs fast.
           

When two people or things are being compared, the comparative degree is used.
          Anita is taller than Nancy.
          Josh runs faster than Jim.

When three or more people or things are being compared, the superlative degree is used.
          Anita is the tallest girl in the group.
          Josh runs the fastest of everyone on the team.


For all adjectives of one syllable and a few adjectives of two syllables, add er to form the comparative degree and est to form the superlative degree.

Positive degree Comparative degree Superlative degree
smooth smoother smoothest
young younger youngest
sweet sweeter sweetest
strong stronger strongest
great greater greatest


For the comparative degree of short adverbs (one or two syllables) by adding er or -est to the positive form.

Positive degree Comparative degree Superlative degree
slow slower slowest
soon sooner soonest
close closer closest


If the adjective ends in y, change the –y to   -i and add er or -est.

Positive degree Comparative degree Superlative degree
happy happier happiest
lazy lazier laziest
pretty prettier prettiest
friendly friendlier friendliest
wealthy wealthier wealthiest


For some adjectives of two syllables and all adjectives of three or more syllables, use more to form the comparative and most to form the superlative

Positive degree Comparative degree Superlative degree
energetic more energetic most energetic
comfortable more comfortable most comfortable
agreeable more agreeable most agreeable
reliable more reliable most reliable

Comparison of adjectives also can be used to indicate less or least of a quality.  Use less to form the comparative degree and least to form the superlative.

Positive degree Comparative degree Superlative degree
difficult less difficult least difficult
famous less famous least famous
helpful less helpful least helpful
thoughtful less thoughtful least thoughtful


Form the comparative degree of adverbs that end in -ly by using the words more or less before the positive form and most or least before the superlative form.

Positive degree Comparative degree Superlative degree
deeply more deeply most deeply
quickly less quickly least quickly
carefully more carefully most carefully
completely less completely least completely


Some adjectives have irregular comparisons.

Positive degree Comparative degree Superlative degree
good better best
bad (adjective) worse worst
badly (adverb) worse worst
far farther farthest
many more most
much more most
well better best
little (amount) less least
little (size) smaller smallest

Now it’s your turn:
1. Of the two students, Thomas learns
2. This has to have been the  November in recorded history.
3. Loneliness can be the  feeling in the world.
4. Shopping on Saturdays is  than shopping during the week.
5. The weather seems  this year than last.
6. Of all the pictures on display, this is the .
7. Lester seems to be the  of all the basketball players.
8. Who is the  , David or Steve?
9. That is the  collection in the museum.
10. Anita’s allergies are  during the summer than during the winter.
11. Madge is  than I.
12. Which lives  as pets: goldfish or turtles?
13. I clean the kitchen  than my mother does.
14. Of those two stars, that one shines .
15. Of her five children, Clarence behaves the .

Answers:
1. faster; Use the comparison form of fast by adding -er to compare two things.
2. warmest; Use the superlative form of warm by adding –est to compare more than 2 things.
3.  hardest; Use the superlative form of hard by adding –est when comparing more than 2 things.
4.  harder; Add –er to one syllable modifiers to compare two things.
5.  more changeable; Use the word more when comparing two things and when the adjective is more than two syllables.
6.  most beautiful; Use most when comparing three or more things.  The adjective is more than 1 syllable, so you can’t use –est.
7.  quickest; Add –est because the adjective is only 1 syllable and you are comparing more than 2 things.
8.  older; Add –er to a one syllable modifier that is comparing only 2 things.
9.  worst; Worst is the superlative form of bad. It is comparing 3 or more things.
10.  worse; Worse is the comparative form of bad. It is used to compare only 2 things.
11.  more patient; Use more to compare 2 things.
12.  longer; Add –er to the word long when comparing 2 things.
13.  less carefully; Carefully is the adverb modifying the verb clean.  Use less when comparing two things.
14.  more brightly; Why don’t we use brighter instead of more brightly?  Brighter is an adjective; brightly is an adverb.  Brightly is the adverb modifying the verb shines.  Remember that we need to use more and most with –ly adverbs.  Consider this sentence –The brighter star is the one to the east.  Here the word bright is an adjective describing the noun star.  We change an adjective to its comparative form by adding –er. 
15.  worst; Worst is the superlative form of the adverb badly. (back to top)

 


Modifier Websites

If you need more help with modifiers, check out the following websites
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/adjectives.htm
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/adverbs.htm
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/esl/esladjadv.html
http://www.grammarbook.com/grammar/adjAdv.asp
http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/js/ck/mc-adjadv.html

 

Resources:

Pre-GED Writing Skills, (1995), NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group, Inc., Lincolnwood, Illinois

GED Test 1: Writing Skills, (1994), Contemporary Books, Inc. Chicago, Illinois

Exercising Your English, Language Skills for Developing Writers, Book 1, (1991), Contemporary Books, Inc., Chicago, Illinois

Applied Communication Skills/Grammar Skills, (1996), Cambridge Adult Education, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey

Language Exercises, Book F (1990) Steck-Vaughn Company, Austin, Texas

Cambridge GED Program Writing Skills, ( 1993), Cambridge Adult Education, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey

Cambridge Exercise Books, Parts of Speech, English Skills Practice, (1998) Cambridge Adult Education, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey