Identify the correct form of a comparative adjective in a sentence

This post is part of a series relating to the Minimum Standards for Grammar and Punctuation in the NAPLAN tests. For the first post in this series, click here.

At Year 9 level, the students are expected to be able to:

  • identify the correct form of a comparative adjective in a sentence

There are no examples of this in the example test so it is hard to predict how they would assess it but the rules for forming comparative adjectives are below.

There are three ways to create comparative adjectives:

1. Those that are formed by adding -er (e.g. tall, taller)

Comparative adjectives that are formed using -er are adjectives that have one syllable or adjectives that have two syllables and end in -y or -er. I wouldn’t start a fight about it but technically this means that the comparative form of clever is cleverer. There are some tricks to spelling these which are covered here.

2. Those that are formed by adding ‘more’ (e.g. chocolaty, more chocolaty)

When the adjective has two syllables but doesn’t end in -y or -er or has three syllables, the comparative adjective is formed with ‘more’.  Not only does ‘difficulter’ sound silly, it is also technically wrong.

3.And irregular comparisons (e.g. bad, worse)

Some words just like to be different. In the case of comparative adjectives, there are about 12 that are used commonly. Some of these words change completely in comparative form (like: good, better) some of them use different comparatives when applied to particular meanings of words (farther can only be used when something is removed to a greater extent by distance, not by time; further can be used for either sense, e.g. ‘The pool is further/farther than the squash court’, ‘The swimming carnival isn’t before the athletics day, it’s further into the future’). There is a table of irregular comparisons on this page.


On a side note, if you think the grammar and punctuation discussion at this school is hostile, count yourself lucky you are not posting on the Expat Korea ESL Forum:

Expat Korea




About timthelibrarian

Tim Harwood is a Teacher Librarian and eLearning enthusiast.
This entry was posted in Grammar, NAPLAN, Punctuation. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Identify the correct form of a comparative adjective in a sentence

  1. Pingback: Grammar and punctuation | Tim the Librarian

  2. Pingback: Identify the word that functions as a verb in a sentence | Tim the Librarian

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