Adjectives: Comparatives & Superlatives

compsup2

 

There are two groups of rules we need to study when we make comparative and superlative adjectives in English. We need to ask two important questions:

  • How many syllables are in the adjective? 1, 2, or more?
  • Does the adjective end in a -y?

 

 

 


 

num-1Group One

  • 1 Syllable
  • 2 Syllables with -Y
1 SYLLABLE 2 SYLLABLE (WITH -Y)
  1. Dry (seco)
  2. Big
  3. Tall
  4. Blue
  5. Green
  1. Happy
  2. Sunny
  3. Easy
  4. Ready
  5. Thirsty

 

If we want to form the COMPARATIVE with Group 1 we add -ER to the base form:

  • taller
  • bluer
  • greener.

To make a SUPERLATIVE with Group 1, we add the word THE before, and -EST to the adjective:

  • the tallest
  • the bluest
  • the greenest

 


 

num-2Group Two

  • 2 Syllables (without -Y ending)
  • Long Adjectives (3 or more syllables)
2 SYLLABLES (WITHOUT -Y) LONG (3+ SYLLABLES)
  1. Yellow
  2. Stupid
  3. Crowded
  4. Spanish
  5. Cooked
  1. Intelligent
  2. Amazing
  3. Beautiful
  4. Complicated
  5. Delicious

 

If we want to form the COMPARATIVE with Group 2 we add the word MORE before the adjective:

  • more intelligent
  • more crowded
  • more complicated

To make the SUPERLATIVE with Group 2 we add the words THE MOST before the base adjective:

  • the most intelligent
  • the most crowded
  • the most amazing

 

Some impòrtant irregular adjectives:

  • good > better > best
  • bad > worse > worst
  • far > further > furthest

 

Two more important rules with Group 1 adjectives

If the adjective ends with CONSONANT, VOWEL, CONSONANT, we double the last letter before we add -ER or -EST:

Big > Bigger > Biggest

If the last letter in the base form is -Y, we change it to -I before we add -ER or -EST:

Happy > Happier > Happiest


Some Exercises

Comparatives

 

Grammar: Present Perfect Simple

61866cb9eda26762d6d5f7e03a28573cThe Present Perfect (Simple) is a past tense – it is used to describe actions that started in the past, and still effect the present. The auxiliary verb is to have, and it is used with the past participle (3rd column) of the main verb: I have done. In Spanish there is a similar tense that uses haber to describe the past – he hecho. however it is not exactly the same as the English tense, and it will be confusing to imagine that they can be used in the same way.

The Past Simple tense describes an action that finished

The Present Perfect describes an action that started (not important “when” it started) and still continues / or still affects the present.

 

 

Here are some examples of when we normally use the tense – the basic idea that links them all is that a process began in the past, and continues to have an effect on the present and that the exact time it started is not important:

  • Describing Accomplishments & Life Experiences

    • He has visited France – He is still alive, so this event still has an influence on the present. He visited France could be used to describe someone who is now dead, but the present perfect sentence cannot.
    • I have not seen this film before –  describes something that was true in my life, until now.
    • Man has walked on the moon – this is an accomplishment. It happened in the past. It has a present effect on how we understand man.
    • She has collected a lot of money for charity – this is another accomplishment. Again, it describes an action in the past, and emphasises its affect on the present. She collected a lot of money is also correct of course, but it omits the emphasis on the present effect that this action has.
  • Describing Change over time

    • You have grown – describes the change that has happened since the last time I saw you and the present
    • My English has improved (since last year) – describes the change that has happened between last year, and the present
  • Describing Incomplete Actions (sometimes with yet)

    • I have not done my homework yet – from the past, until the present moment, this is true.
    • We have had many problems with this project – from the past, until the present, this is true. It implies that the project is not finished and that more problems are possible.
    • I have done the activity five times – from the past until the present this is true. The implication is that I will do the activity at least one more time. If we say I did the exercise five times the implication is that I will no longer do the exercise and the 5th time was the last time.

 

IMPORTANT: “Last year” and “in the last year” are very different in meaning. “Last year” means the year before now, and it is considered a specific time which requires Simple Past. “In the last year” means from 365 days ago until now. It is not considered a specific time, so it requires Present Perfect.


Some exercises to test your understanding

 

Original material sourced from EnglishPage.com

 

Grammar: Passive Voice

The-passive-voice

The passive voice is used when the person who does the action (the subject) is not known, or when we want to emphasise a situation from a different perspective.

  • Penguins attacked my sister is active, because the subject (penguins) uses the verb (attacked) directly.
  • My sister was attacked is passive, because the subject (my sister) receives the verb (was attacked), and does not do the action.

Every passive sentence needs two things – the verb to be, and the main action in the past participle form. In our example we have *was” and “attacked“.

The verb to be in the example is in the past simple, which means that the sentence *my sister was attacked by wild penguins” is the past simple passive. The tense of the verb to be is the tense of our passive sentence.

 

Examples showing the Present and Past Simple and Continuous tenses in Affirmative, Negative and Question forms.

ACTIVE PASSIVE
Present Simple Affirmative I write a letter A letter is written (by me)
Present Simple Negative I don’t write a letter A letter wasn’t written (by me)
Present Simple Question Do you write a letter? Is a letter written by you?
Present Continuous Affirmative I am writing a letter A letter is being written
Present Continuous Negative I am not writing a letter A letter is not being written
Present Continuous Question Are you writing a letter? Is a letter being written?
Past Simple Affirmative I wrote a letter A letter was written
Past Simple Negative I didn’t write a letter A letter wasn’t written
Past Simple Question Did you write a letter? Was a letter written?
Past Continuous Affirmative I was writing a letter A letter was being written
Past Continuous Negative I wasn’t writing a letter A letter wasn’t being written
Past Continuous Question Were you writing a letter? Was a letter being written?

 

Some other examples to think about. Do you know these tenses? Can you make active sentences using these tenses and then make them passive?

ACTIVE PASSIVE
He has told that story many times That story has been told many times
He has been telling the same story for years That story has been being told by him for years
He had told them before they left. They had been told before they left.
He had been telling them for years. They had been being told for years.
She will do it. It will be done (by her)
They are going to do it It is going to be done (by them)
They will have done it It will have been done (by them)
They will have been doing it It will have been being done (by them)

 

Grammar: Gerunds & Infinitives

1. A gerund is a noun made from a verb by adding “-ing.” The gerund form of the verb “read” is “reading.” You can use a gerund as the subject, the complement, or the object of a sentence.

Examples:

  • Reading helps you learn English. subject of sentence
  • Her favorite hobby is reading. complement of sentence
  • I enjoy reading. object of sentence

Gerunds can be made negative by adding “not.”

Examples:

  • He enjoys not working.
  • The best thing for your health is not smoking.

 

2. Infinitives are the “to” form of the verb. The infinitive form of “learn” is “to learn.” You can also use an infinitive as the subject, the complement, or the object of a sentence.

Examples:

  • To learn is important. subject of sentence
  • The most important thing is to learn. complement of sentence
  • He wants to learn. object of sentence

Infinitives can be made negative by adding “not.”

Examples:

  • I decided not to go.
  • The most important thing is not to give up.

 

3. Both gerunds and infinitives can be used as the subject or the complement of a sentence. However, as subjects or complements, gerunds usually sound more like normal, spoken English, whereas infinitives sound more abstract. In the following sentences, gerunds sound more natural and would be more common in everyday English. Infinitives emphasise the possibility or potential for something and sound more philosophical. If this sounds confusing, just remember that 90% of the time, you will use a gerund as the subject or complement of a sentence.

Examples:

  • Learning is important. normal subject
  • To learn is important. abstract subject – less common
  • The most important thing is learning. normal complement
  • The most important thing is to learn. abstract complement – less common

 

4. As the object of a sentence, it is more difficult to choose between a gerund or an infinitive. In such situations, gerunds and infinitives are not normally interchangeable. Usually, the main verb in the sentence determines whether you use a gerund or an infinitive.

Examples:

  • He enjoys swimming. “Enjoy” requires a gerund.
  • He wants to swim. “Want” requires an infinitive.

 

5. Some verbs are followed by gerunds as objects. List of Verbs Followed by Gerunds

Examples:

  • She suggested going to a movie.
  • Mary keeps talking about her problems.

 

6. Some verbs are followed by infinitives. List of Verbs Followed by Infinitives

Examples:

  • She wantsto go to a movie.
  • Mary needsto talk about her problems.

Some Exercises to practice: