A lot of non-native English speakers have difficulty using the comparative form of adjectives, especially knowing when to use more and when to use -er? Luckily, the general rule is easy to follow.
First, you need to count the number of syllables (units of sound). For example, beautiful has 3 syllables: beau-ti-ful, whereas ugly has 2: ug-ly.
Adjectives with 1 or 2 Syllables
- She is cleverer than you. (cle-ver)
- I prefer colder weather. (cold)
- This coffee shop is much quieter. (qui-et)
Adjectives with 3 or more Syllables
Use more or less.
- Vancouver is more beautiful in autumn. (beau-ti-ful)
- Usually, the more confident team wins. (con-fi-dent)
- Flying is less dangerous than driving a car. (dan-ger-ous)
Good or Bad
As always, there are exceptions to the rules. With the adjectives good and bad, you should use better or worse.
- Kingsman is a better film than Inception.
- The Liverpool team is worse without Suarez.
- I feel better today, thanks.
Some Adjectives Ending with 1 Vowel + 1 Consonant
Add an extra consonant before -er.
- He looks much thinner these days. (i + n)
- The bigger they are, the harder they fall. (i + g)
- Scotland is a lot wetter than England. (e + t)
Adjectives Ending in -y
Replace -y with -ier.
- The mashed potato is lumpier than normal. (lump
- Funnier presentations get more attention. (funn
- My granddad keeps getting grumpier. (grump
And then there are adjectives that simply don’t follow a pattern. For example, we say more fun, not
funner. Also, although you can find both in dictionaries, these days more handsome is more frequently used than handsomer.