Comparatives: Structures & Examples

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Comparisons indicate degrees of difference with adjectives and adverbs. Comparatives are the words that indicate a comparison between two entities. Some comparatives constitute different structures from others.

Comparatives in Different Structures:

Single Word Comparatives:

The adjectives and adverbs that do not require the word ‘more’ or ‘less’ before them and add ‘er’ or ‘ier’ with them are the single word comparatives.


Subject + verb + adjective/adverb+(er) + than + noun/pronoun + verb (hidden)


 - Alex is taller than Max.
 - Today is hotter than yesterday.
 - He has a brighter skin than she has.

Double Word Comparatives:

The adjectives and adverbs that are of more than two syllables need an extra ‘more’ or ‘less’ before them to become comparatives.


Subject + verb + more/less + adjective/adverb + than + noun/pronoun + verb (hidden)


 - She is more beautiful than Tina.
 - He is less handsome than Alex.
 - I am more tired than you.

Note:  Comparatives always compare two entities based on a certain feature of those entities. They always compare similar entities.


Incorrect: His watch is cheaper than his employee. (There cannot be any comparison between a thing and a person. It must be between two things or two persons.)
Correct: His watch is cheaper than his employee’s watch.
Incorrect: My salary is lower than Alex. (This comparison is illogical.) 
Correct: My salary is lower than Alex’s salary. 
Incorrect: The duties of a mother are harder than a father.
Correct: The duties of a mother are harder than that of a father.

Multiple Number Comparatives:

When something is compared with another thing according to their numbers, the sentence follows a different structure. Multiple number comparatives include half, twice, three times, four times, etc.


Subject + verb + number + as + much/many + (noun) + as + noun/pronoun + verb


 - John has half as many wickets as Watson has.
 - Robert works twice as much as Alex does.
 - I have three times as many runs as he has.

Double Comparatives:

There is a unique structure of English sentence which starts with a comparative and takes another comparative to complete it. This type of sentence structure is unusual as it is generally used with proverbs.


The + comparative 1 + subject + verb + the + comparative 2 + subject + verb


 - The more you write, the smarter it gets.
 - The thinner you become, the easier you feel.
 - The bigger they are, the cheaper they are sold.
 - The more you eat, the fatter you become.
 - The sooner I leave, the earlier I will reach home.

Generally, the article ‘the’ does not precede a comparative. But in this unique structure of the sentence, ‘the’ precedes both of the comparatives.
However, there is one more structure that allows ‘the’ to come right before a comparative.


Subject + verb + the + comparative + of the two + (noun)


Of the two + (noun) + subject + verb + the + comparative


 - Shaun is the better player of the two brothers.
 - Of the Marsh brothers, Mitchel is the better bowler.
 - Alex is the smarter of the two boys.
 - She is the wiser of the two Bronte sisters.
 - Of the two novels of Joyce, the Ulysses is the more intriguing one.

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