We have seen that we can use adjectives to compare people, things or places. Adverbs can also be used to compare actions. And like adjectives, we use the comparative form of an adverb to compare two actions and the superlative form of an adverb to compare more than two actions.
Examples: ONE ACTION: Maree swims fast.
TWO ACTIONS: Maree swims faster than Ciku.
THREE OR MORE: Maree swims fastest of all.
Just like adjectives, adverbs have special forms or spelling for making comparisons.
The comparative form the comparative form of the adverb is used to compare one action with another.
It is formed in two ways: 1. for short adverbs, add -er.
Examples: The bird flew higher than the helicopter.
The president arrived sooner than we expected.
- For most adverbs ending in -ly, use more to make the comparative.
Examples: She visited him more frequently than Martin.
The tractor towed the lorry more powerfully than the bull-cart.
The superlative form the superlative form is used to compare one action with two or more others of the same kind.
Examples: Of the three athletes, Peter runs the fastest.
The lion roars the loudest of all the big cats.
Adverbs that form the comparative with -er form their superlative with -est.
Those that use more to form comparative use most to form superlative.
Adverbs Comparative Superlative
Long longer longest
Fast faster fastest
Softly more softly most softly
Politely more politely most polite
Points to Remember
- Use the comparative to compare two actions and the superlative to compare more than two.
Comparative: He sat nearer to the window than him
Superlatives: He sat nearest to the window than all the others.
- Do not leave out the word other when comparing one action with every other action of the same kind.
Incorrect: The lion roared louder than any lion.
Correct: The lion roared louder than any other lion.
- Do not use both -er and more or -est and most.
Incorrect: The dancer moved more faster than before.
Correct: The dancer moved faster than before.
Summary of rules for comparing with Adverbs
- for most adverbs
Add -er or -est to the adverb hard late deep
Harder later deeper
Hardest latest deepest
- For most adverbs comprising of two or more syllables: Use more or most with the adverb
Skillfully firmly rudely
More skillfully more firmly most rudely
Most skillfully most firmly most rudely
Write each of the following sentences using the correct form of the adverb.
- Does she cry ______________ (often) than the baby does?
- She crosses the river _____________ (slowly) than her son does.
- James jumps into the swimming pool _____________ (quickly).
- Charles swims _____________ (skillfully) than all of us.
- Of all the athletes, Tecla Lorupe is ____________ (fast).
- The antelope disappeared _____________ (swiftly) than the gazelle.
- Chicharito scored the goal _____________ (accurately) of all.
- Mange and Marto stayed in the hall ______________ (long) of all.
- Sarah walks _____________ (gracefully).
- Ngozi sang ____________ (sweetly) of all participants.
Answers on Adverbs
Adverb what it indicates
- Far where
- Cheerful how
- Downstairs where
- Carefully, skillfully how
- Extremely how
- Curiously how
- Soon when
- Fully to what extent
- Adorably how
- Down where
- Highly successful
- Extremely cold
- Quite difficult
- Barely visible
- Very old
- Mysteriously secretive
- Horribly mean
- Totally exciting
- Completely mad
- Never punctual
- Very gradually
- Surprisingly quickly
- Somewhat closer
- Extremely irresponsibly
- Totally carelessly
- Quickly 6. Odd
- Gradually 7. Reasonable
- Good 8. Rapidly
- Rapidly 9. Well
- Strange 10. Well
- More often 6. More swiftly
- More slowly 7. Most accurately
- Quickly 8. The longest
- More skillfully 9. Gracefully
- The fastest 10. The most sweetly
SPECIFIC CATEGORIES OF ADVERBS
SPECIAL PROBLEMS WITH ADJECTIVES