Comparisons and Superlatives with Adjectives

Adjectives are frequently used to compare things, people, events, ideas etc. There are three forms of comparisons: comparisons of inequality (more/less), comparisons of equality (as…as), and the superlative (the most/least).

Comparison of Inequality

Más … que conveys the idea of more … thanmenos … que the idea of less than.

Aprendieron más el inglés que el español.
They learned more English than Spanish.
Puedes comprar una casa más grande que si vas a vivir a otro lugar.
You can buy a bigger house than if you go to live somewhere else.

Comparison of Equality

Tan … como conveys the idea of equality, as … as.

No te sientes tan seguro como antes.
You don’t feel as safe as before.
Me dijo que él nunca había conocido una mujer tan bonita como yo, y que él me quería más que novia, que si quería ser su esposa.
He told me that he had never met a woman as beautiful as me and that he loved me more than as girlfriend, that if I wanted to be his wife.

Superlatives

The superlative is a form of an adjective expressing the most or highest possible amount, such as the bestthe smallestthe most interesting. To form the superlative, use the definite article (el, la, los, las) and  más or menos before the adjective. Like all adjectives, the superlative of an adjective agrees with the noun it modifies in gender and in number; as seen in the example below, the adjective baratas is feminine and plural to agree with the noun casas.

Harlingen, una de las ciudades más baratas para vivir.
Harlingen, one of the cheapest cities to live in.

The placement of the superlative corresponds to the usual placement of the adjective. In other words, if the adjective follows the noun, then the superlative will follow the noun, as seen in the example above. And conversely, if the adjective precedes the noun, then the superlative will precede the noun, too as seen in the two examples below.

Eso fue el peor viaje de mi vida porque el barco se movía sin parar.
That was the worst trip of my life because the boat was moving nonstop.
¿Cuál fue el momento más feliz de tu vida?
What was the happiest moment in your life?

Irregular Adjectives

Several adjectives have irregular forms of comparison/superlative, which replaces más + adjective with single word comparison. This irregularity is found in English too; for example the adjective good changes to better, not to gooder or more good.

Adjective Comparison
bueno mejor
malo peor
grande mayor
pequeño menor
Creo que esa sería la mejor manera de hacerlo y cuando hablo de revolución hablo de darle a la gente de América Latina mejor vida, mejor oportunidad.
I think that that would be the best way to do it and when I say revolution, I’m talking about giving people from Latin American a better life, a better opportunity.