Comparative structures in English
Basic comparative forms:
1. We use more or most before nouns, adverbs, two-syllable adjectives ending in -ful, -less and -ing, two-syllable adjectives where the second syllable is stressed, and longer adjectives.
She works more effectively than anyone I know.
She is the most useful member of the team.
2. We add -er and -est to one-syllable adjectives and two-syllable adjectives where the second syllable is unstressed.
Birmingham is smaller than London.
Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world.
3. To compare two things we can also use the structure as + adjective/adverb +as.
I don't go out as often as I'd like to.
To show a big difference, we use nothing like, or nowhere near.
She's nowhere near as good as me at chess.
To show a small difference, we use almost or nearly.
He's almost as good as me.
To emphasis no difference we use equally, just or every bit.
I'm just as good as you.
Both girls are equally beautiful.
|big difference||small difference|
|formal||significantly, infinitely,decidedly,considerably||fractionally, marginally|
|neutral||much, a good deal, a great deal, (by) far, a lot, easily, not nearly, nothing like, nowhere near as... as||
barely (any), a bit, hardly (any), a little, scarcely (any), slightly, somewhat, nearly, not quite as... as, rather, much the same as...
|informal||miles, way, loads|
I earn a great deal more now than I did ten years ago.
This is easily the best film I've ever seen.
I'm way better than you at English.
You're nowhere near as good as me at English.
The city is much the same as it was 20 years ago.
He's just about the nicest person I know.
I see loads more people than I used to.
We use double comparatives with the to say that one situation leads to another.
The more you read, the more you'll learn.
The more I see him, the more I like him.
We use progressive comparative form to say something is escalating. If we want to emphasise the adjective we use the compative word twice.
House prices are getting higher and higher.
We use comparison to contrast two similar qualities:
His behaviour was more strange than suspicious.
I'm not so much angry as relieved.
so + adjective + that-clause
The demonstration was so peaceful that most of police left.
such a + adjective + noun + that-clause
It was such a peaceful demonstration that most of the police left.
too + adjective (+for infinitive) + to-infinitive
It was too dangerous (for us) to go out at night.
adjective + enough (+for) + to-infinitive
It wasn't safe enough (for us) to go out at night.
As and like
Like + noun = similar to
He looks like a criminal (but he's not).
As + name of job, etc = role, function
He works as a postman (That's his job)
Ways of expressing preferences
We can use comparative forms when expressing preferences:
I'd want/prefer to pay an on-the spot fine rather than go to court.
I'd (far) sooner/rather live in Paris than London.