The Comparative

Updated: Sep 7, 2020


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.