Comparative adjectives are used to compare one noun to another noun. In these instances, only two items are being compared. For example, someone might say that "the blue bird is angrier than the robin."
Superlative adjectives are used to compare three or more nouns. They're also used to compare one thing against the rest of a group. Superlative adjectives demonstrate a higher level of comparison between entities. For example, "She's the prettiest princess in all the land."
When students are trying to organize their thoughts and draw a comparison between two or more items, it's helpful to show them several examples of comparative and superlative adjectives for kids. Let's explore some examples below.
An initial adjective (also called a positive adjective) on its own describes a noun. Take, for example, "He's tall." The comparative adjectives in the printable below show how you can make comparisons easily between two entities by adding -er for a comparative adjective: "He's taller than she is." The superlative adjective, adding -est, makes even higher levels of comparison: "He's the tallest kid in the class."
It's wise to review the degrees of comparison examples with your students. In the examples above, it's clear there are varying degrees of comparison between new, newer, and newest.
Don't forget you can also make comparisons between two or more items with the words "more" and "most." For example, "She is more active than he is" offers a lesser degree of comparison than "She is the most active person in the entire household."
Comparisons can also be made in the opposite direction with "less" and "least." The same principle applies in the examples below. You can compare two things in the comparative form as well as three or more in the superlative form.
There are a few adjectives that have irregular forms when made into comparative or superlative adjectives. With these, you don't add an -er or -est, and they don't include the words "more" or "most." In some cases, a whole new word is used. These irregular forms just have to be memorized.
The examples in the printable above still follow the format of initial adjective, comparative adjective, and superlative adjective, as in good, better, best.
Now that we know how to identify comparative and superlative adjectives, let's see them in action. Here is a list of sentences making comparisons between two things:
My house is bigger than yours.
Your grade is worse than mine.
The Pacific Ocean is deeper than the Arctic Ocean.
You are more polite than Joey.
My brother is taller than I am, but he is older too.
A rose is more beautiful than a daisy.
The Earth is larger than the moon.
A pint is less than a quart.
Learning Japanese is more difficult than learning Italian.
It's farther from New York to Austin than it is from New York to Nashville.
Of course, there are times when we take things up a notch and compare three or more items. There will also be times when we compare one thing against the rest of a group. Here are some examples of superlative adjectives in action:
I can't find my most comfortable jeans.
The runt of the litter is the smallest.
Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system.
She is the smartest girl in our class.
This is the most interesting book I have ever read.
I am the shortest person in my family.
Jerry is the least worried about the game.
That was the best movie ever.
Sam is the most handsome boy in the whole school.
Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
Especially for younger students, "more" and "most" can get tricky. Have you ever cringed at the thought of something being "more better"? That's okay. An active mind makes many mistakes on the pathway to greatness. As you prepare to teach your little ones about the wonders of comparison, these lesson plans are a great place to start.