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Comparative and superlative in Spanish

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Comparative and superlative adjectives (adjetivos comparativos and superlativos) express the quality degree of the noun they modify. 

As usual, these adjectives must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.

 Quality degreeExamples
Comparative

1.more than

2.less than

3.similar / equal to

1. Esta falda es más ancha que ésa. (This skirt is larger than that one.)

2. Esta película es menos entretenida que esa. (This movie is less entertaining than that one.)

3. Soy tan alta como tú. (I am as tall as you.)

Superlativesuperior toÉl es el chico más guapo de la escuela. (He is the most handsome boy in the school.)

Comparatives 

Comparative forms may serve as: 

  1. majority comparative (more...than)
  2. minority comparative (les...than)
  3. equality comparative (as...as)

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1. Majority comparative (more...than)

To express comparison of inequality with "more", here is the sentence structure:

MÁS + adjective + QUE < more + adjective + than

Example: 

La comida española es más rica que la comida alemana. (Spanish food is more delicious than German food.)

2. Minority comparative (less...than)

To express comparison of inequality with "less", here is the sentence structure:

MENOS + adjective + QUE < more + adjective + than

Example:

Rafael es menos celoso que su ex novio. (Rafael is less jealous than her ex boyfriend.)

3. Equality comparative (as...as)

To express comparison of equality, here is the sentence structure: 

TAN + adjective + COMO < as + adjective + as 

Example: 

Este portátil es tan caro como lo de Lucía. (This laptop is as expensive as the one of Lucía.)

Superlatives

Superlatives express the quality of the noun they modify to its maximum degree. 

Here are some common superlative structures: 

  1.  más + adjective + de / menos + adjective + de = the most / least + adjective + of 
  2. muy + adjective / adjective + -ísimo = very + adjective

1. The most and the least

This type of structure expresses the maximum degree in comparison to others. 

Superlative structureEnglish equivalentExamples
más + adjective + dethe most + adjective + of

Éste es el día más importante de mi vida. (This is the most important day of my life.)

menos + adjective + dethe least + adjective + of

María es la menos inteligente de la clase. (María is the least clever of the school.)

2. Absolute superlative

This type of structure expresses the absolute superlative, which indicates the maximum adjective degree without comparing it to others. 

English1st structureExample2nd structureExample
very + adjectivemuy + adjectiveEstoy muy triste. (I am very sad.)adjective + ísimoEres guapísimo. (You are very handsome.)

In the second case, you need to add the superlative ending according to the gender and number of the noun they modify.

 MasculineFeminine
Singular-ísimo-ísima
Plural-ísimos-ísimas

Examples: 

  • Las mariposas son bellísimas. (Butterflies are very beautiful.)
  • Javier es altísimo. (Javier is very tall.)

enlightenedSpelling changes may occur when dropping certain adjective endings to add the superlative -ísimo. 

EndingSpelling changeExamples
-co-qurico - riquísimo (very rich, delicious)
-go-gulargo - larguísimo (very large)
-z-cveloz - velocísimo (very fast)

Irregular comparatives and superlatives 

 Comparative Superlative 
buenomejorbetter

el mejor 

the best
malopeorworse

el peor

the worse
grande

mayor

más grande

greater/older

larger

el mayor

el más grande

the greatest/oldest

the largest

pequeñomenorlesser/younger

el menor 

the least/youngest

Examples: 

  • Comparative: Tu habitación es mejor que la mía. (Your room is better than mine.)
  • Superlative: Hoy es el mejor día de la semana. (Today is the best day of the week.)

To create the feminine and plural forms of the abovementioned nouns, have a look at the Gender and number of Spanish adjectives subpage!


Exercises

  1. Spanish comparative practice quiz
  2. Spanish superlative practice quiz
  3. Comparative or superlative?

Spanish comparative practice quiz


Spanish superlative practice quiz


Comparative or superlative?


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