Degrees of Comparison

 Comparative Levels of Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives and adverbs are words that describe or modify other words. Adjectives and some adverbs have three degrees: Positive, Comparative and Superlative.


Part of Speech Positive Comparative Superlative
Adjective low lower lowest
Adjective big bigger biggest
Adjective fat fatter fattest
Adverb highly more highly most highly
Adverb widely more widely most widely
Adverb easily more easily most easily


  1. The Positive Degree is used to denote the existence of quality.
  2. The Comparative Degree is used to compare the qualities of two persons or things.
  3. The Superlative Degree is used when more than two nouns or things are compared.


Study the following models.

Positive Comparative Superlative
Very few boys in the class are as tall as John. John is taller than any other boys in the class. John is the tallest boy in the class.
John is taller than most other boys in the class. John is one of the tallest boy in the class.

Irregular Comparative and Superlative Adjectives and Adverbs

Some comparative and superlative forms are irregular and since they do not follow any rules or patterns, they must be memorised.


Irregular Adverbs

Word Comparative Superlative
badly worse worst
much more most
little less least
well better best


Irregular Adjectives

Word Comparative Superlative
good better best
bad worse worst
much more most
little less least
old older elder oldest eldest





Collocations are two or more words which; when read or spoken, sound natural to native speakers.

The table below shows some of the most commonly used types of collocation:

Verb + noun throw a party / accept responsibility
Adjective + noun square meal / grim determination
Verb + adjective + noun take vigorous exercise / make steady progress
Adverb + verb strongly suggest / barely see
Adverb + adjective utterly amazed / completely useless
Adverb + adjective + noun totally unacceptable behaviour
Adjective + preposition guilty of / blamed for / happy about
Noun + noun (also known as compound nouns) pay packet / window frame

You can also read through this Collocations List for further commonly used English language collocations.



British Council