The Comparative

Updated: Sep 7


The comparative is used to compare two aspects. We can compare in terms of inferiority, equality or superiority. We can compare using adjectives, adverbs, verbs or nouns.


Comparing with adjectives:


Adjectives are sometimes called "describing words". They are used to tell you more about a noun or a pronoun. For example grand- tall.


In English, there are two ways to compare two things/people in relation to an adjective:

  1. by adding -er at the end of the adjective. (e.g: taller)

  2. by using more/ less/ as in front of the adjective. (e.g. more important)

In French, there is only one way to compare two things/people in relation to an adjective. The structure is similar to the English structure 2. discussed above.


Check this 3 examples:

- Nous sommes plus gentils que toi. We are kinder than you are.

- Elle est moins intéressante que sa sœur. She is less interesting than her sister.

- Ils sont aussi stupides que moi. They are as stupid as I am.


Therefore:

plus...que = more...than

moins... que = less...than

aussi... que = as... as


Note:

- The adjective goes between plus and que. (or moins and que; aussi and que)

- The adjective must agree with the noun or pronoun it is referring to.

- When comparing two people in relation to an adjective, an emphatic pronoun is required. (moi, toi, lui, elle, nous, vous, eux, elles)


Be CAREFUL!

Some adjectives have irregular comparative forms:

With the adjective bon: plus bon becomes meilleur.

With the adjective mauvais: plus mauvais becomes pire.



Comparing with adverbs:


An adverb modifies a verb. It gives you information about how the action was completed.

For example: lentement- slowly.


The structure to compare two things/ people using an adverb is very similar to the structure seen above with adjectives.


Check these 3 examples:

- Il court plus vite que toi. He runs faster than you do.

- Vous parlez moins couramment que lui. You speak less fluently than he does.

- Elles chantent aussi bien que moi. They sing as well as I do.


Therefore:

plus...que = more...than

moins... que = less... than

aussi... que = as... as


Note:

- The adverb goes between plus and que. (or moins and que; aussi and que)

- The adverb is invariable. It does not change.

- When comparing two people in relation to an adverb, an emphatic pronoun is required.


BE CAREFUL!

With the adverb bien: plus bien becomes mieux.



Comparing with verbs:


A verb, sometimes called "doing word", is a word used to describe an action.

For example il saute - he jumps


The structure to compare two things/ people in relation to a verb is slightly different.


Check these 3 examples:

- Tu étudies plus que moi. You study more than I do.

- Nous cuisinons moins qu'elle. We cook less than she does.

- Elle parle autant que toi. She speaks as much as you do.


Therefore:

plus que = more than

moins que = less than

autant que = as much as


Note:

- Nothing goes between plus and que.

- When comparing two people in relation to a adverb, an emphatic pronoun is required.



Comparing with nouns:


A noun is a word used to identify a thing (e.g. un livre- a book), a person (e.g. la mère- mother), a place (e.g. Londres- London), an animal (e.g. un chat- a cat), a quality (e.g. la gentillesse- kindness) or an idea (e.g. la justice- justice).


The structure to compare two things/people in relation to a noun is somewhat different.


Check these 3 examples:

- j'ai plus de chiens que toi. I have more dogs than you have.

- Nous faisons plus d'erreurs que vous. We make more mistakes than you do.

- Elle économise autant d'argent que son frère. She saves as much money as her brother does.


Therefore:

plus de...que = more (of)... than

moins de...que = less (of)... than

autant de...que = as much (of)... as


Note:

- the noun goes between plus de and que.

- de becomes d' when the next word starts with a vowel.

- When comparing two people in relation to a noun, an emphatic pronoun is required.


To summarise:

.

.

.

Keep on reading to know something slightly more advanced.

.

.

.

So far, we have covered the comparative when the two aspects being compared are things or people in relation to adjectives, adverbs, verbs or nouns. However, there are other possible comparisons.


Comparing one thing/ person in relation to an adjective over time:

Elle est plus sympa qu'avant. She is nicer than she used to be.


Comparing one thing/person in relation to two adjectives:

Il est plus manuel qu'intellectuel. He is more manual than he is intellectual.


Comparing one thing/ person in relation to an adverb over time:

Elle danse mieux qu'avant. She dances better than she used to.


Comparing one thing/ person in relation to two adverbs:

Nous parlons aussi fort que vite. We speak as loud as (we speak) fast.


Comparing one thing/ person in relation to a verb over time:

Je travaille plus de nos jours. I work more nowadays.


Comparing in relation to two verbs:

Je joue au foot plus que je ne fais de la natation. I play football more than I swim.

Note that the subject is repeated and that the expletive "ne" is used with plus and moins.


Comparing one thing/ person in relation to a noun over time:

J'ai plus de temps qu'avant. I have more time that I used to.


Comparing in relation to two nouns:

Ils ont plus de chats que de chiens. They have more cats than they have dogs.




Recommendation:



For French A Level students with any exam board:


This workbook is excellent to practise all the grammar you need to know in the first year of your A-level course.









For French GCSE students with any exam board:


The handbook on the left gives you easy to understand descriptions and rules for all the grammar aspects you need to know at GCSE level. The workbook on the right contains a series of activities to help you practise these aspects. Answers are provided at the back so you can check your work.




*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.



30 views

Don't miss updates by becoming a member or following MyFrenchBlog on Facebook or Twitter

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon