Comparatives and Superlatives in Spanish
Are comparatives and superlatives in Spanish really that useful?
- Can you speak more slowly?
- I like that one more.
- You’re the best!
- It’s the most difficult word to pronounce!
They’re more useful than you may have realized!
Superlatives and comparatives in Spanish are everywhere, and learning them is definitely worth your time.
Table of Contents:
- Comparatives and Superlatives in Spanish
- Comparatives of Inequality
- Comparatives of Equality
- Superlatives in Spanish
- Comparatives and Superlatives in Spanish – Wrap-up
- Practice Comparatives and Superlatives in Spanish
Comparatives and Superlatives in Spanish
Comparative adjectives compare and contrast two things. In Spanish, comparisons of inequality exist to talk about unequal relationships and comparisons of equality to say that two things are equal to one another.
Superlatives in Spanish are adjectives that you’ll use to compare three or more things where one is “the most” or “the least” in certain characteristics.
If you need a quick review of adjectives, check out A Massive List of Spanish Adjectives and How To Use Them.
Comparatives of Inequality
Comparisons of inequality indicate that one thing is more or less than the other one.
In English, there are two ways to make comparative adjectives: using the word “more” with long adjectives or adding -er to short adjectives.
- Ann is more beautiful than Kate.
- Mary is shorter than her sister.
Both “more beautiful” and “shorter” are English comparatives.
Spanish is even easier here. If you want to say that something is more or less, just follow these rules:
1. “More” Formula:
más + adjective + que
2. “Less” Formula:
menos + adjective + que
Remember that the adjective needs to match the noun in gender and number!
Mi mamá es más baja que la tuya.
My mom is shorter than yours.
Yo soy más alta que tú.
I am taller than you.
Rita es menos alta que su hermana.
Rita is less tall than her sister.
Su perro es más listo que el mío.
His dog is smarter than mine.
Estos tacos son menos caros que los de la esquina y más deliciosos.
These tacos are less expensive than the ones on the corner and more delicious.
If you want to negate equality and say that something is “not as…. as” something else, you’ll use the basic adjective form. This is the formula:
no + verb + tan + adjective + como
Yo no soy tan inteligente como tú.
I’m not as smart as you.
Su gato no es tan perezoso como el mío.
His cat is not as lazy as mine.
Irregular Comparatives Adjectives
It doesn’t happen often, but the irregular comparative adjectives are even easier than the regular ones! No need to use más or menos, just remember a couple of forms.
|Adjective||Comparative Irregular Form|
You can still use the regular forms with the last four—grande, pequeño, joven, and viejo—so don’t be surprised to see and hear más grande, más pequeño, más joven, or más viejo.
The irregular comparatives don’t have to agree in gender with the noun but they still have to agree in number.
Ella es mejor en español que yo.
She is better at Spanish than I am.
Ellos son mejores en todo.
They are better at everything.
Hand-picked for you: Irregular Comparatives in Spanish Adjectives and Adverbs
Comparatives of Equality
Comparisons of equality say that two things are equal to each other in a certain way. If you use them with adjectives, you have to use the word tan (so).
This is the formula:
tan + adjective + como
Ella es tan trabajadora como su madre.
She is as hardworking as her mother.
Ellas son tan parlanchinas como sus primas.
They are as talkative as their cousins.
Él es tan guapo como mi actor favorito.
He is as handsome as my favorite actor.
Ellos son tan atrasados como nosotros.
They are as behind the times as we are.
Have you noticed that the adjective after tan needs to match the noun it describes in number and gender?
See also: Tan vs Tanto: What’s the Difference?
Instead of tan, you can say igual de (just as) and keep the rest of the formula the same.
Ella es igual de trabajadora como su madre.
She is just as hardworking as her mother.
Superlatives in Spanish
As you know, you use superlative adjectives to compare three or more nouns and say which one of them is “the most” or “the least.”
The formula looks similar to the one for comparatives, but now you have to add the definite article:
1. “Most” Formula:
Definite article (el/la/los/las) + más + adjective
2. “Least” Formula:
Definite article (el/la/los/las) + menos + adjective
Mi hermano es el más alto de su salón.
My brother is the tallest in his class.
Ana es la más baja del grupo.
Ana is the shortest in the group.
Ellos son los más ruidosos.
They are the loudest.
Ellas son las más amables de aquí.
They are the nicest ones here.
As you can see, the definite article and the adjective need to agree in gender and number with the noun they describe.
Irregular Superlatives in Spanish
The same adjectives that had irregular comparative forms have irregular superlatives. These are the same comparative forms you already know but with the definite article added in front of them.
Here is the formula to use them:
Definite article (el/la/los/las) + superlative irregular adjective
|Adjective||Superlative Irregular Form|
|bueno/agood||el/la mejor, los/las mejores |
|malo/abad||el/la peor, los/las peores|
|grandebig||el/la mayor, los/las mayores|
|pequeño/asmall||el/la menor, los/las menores|
|joven young||el/la menor, los/las menores|
|viejo/aold||el/la mayor, los/las mayores|
As with the comparatives, you can use the regular forms with the last four. It’s correct to say el más grande, la más pequeña, el más joven, los más viejos.
The irregular superlatives have to agree in gender and number with the noun.
Ellas son las mejores amigas.
They are best friends.
¡Ustedes son los peores!
You are the worst!
¡Te esperan las mayores ventajas!
The biggest advantages await you!
Son las menores en este grupo pero las más altas.
They are the youngest in this group but the tallest.
Mis abuelos son los mayores en su edificio.
My grandparents are the oldest in their building.
Lo Mejor and Lo Peor
You’ll also hear the superlatives mejor and peor with the gender-neutral article lo in front.
Spanish-speaking people say that something is lo mejor or lo peor to express in a general way that it’s the best or the worst of all.
Es lo peor que me ha pasado hasta ahora.
It’s the worst thing that has happened to me so far.
No tener que estudiar es lo mejor.
Not having to study is the best thing.
¡Eres lo mejor que me pudo pasar en mi vida!
You are the best thing that could have happened to me in my life!
You also use it with other adjectives if you refer something gender-neutral.
Es lo más fácil del mundo.
It’s the easiest thing ever.
Other Ways of Expressing Superlatives in Spanish
Talk about the extreme degree of an adjective by adding -ísimo suffix to it. You’ll translate it using the words such as very, so, quite, super, extremely, and others.
You are very beautiful!
¡Este pastel es buenísimo!
This cake is so good!
Adjectives that end in -ble will change it into -bil before adding -isimo.
Ella es amabilísima.
She’s super nice.
Me siento miserabilismo.
I feel really miserable.
When adjectives end in -n, -dor, or -or, -isimo changes into -císimo.
¡Eres jovencísimo! ¿Qué haces aquí?
You’re very young! What are you doing here?
Mi hija es habladoricísima.
My daughter is extremely talkative.
Many adjectives that have the letter r in the final syllable will have the -érrimo ending instead of -ísimo. For example:
- libre (free) – libérrimo (extremely free)
- celebre (famous) – celebérrimo (extremely famous)
Este colegio es libérrimo.
This school is extremely liberal.
Él es celebérrimo.
He’s super famous.
Comparatives and Superlatives in Spanish – Wrap-up
- Use más before an adjective to indicate that one thing is more than the other
- Use menos before an adjective to indicate that one thing is less than the other
- Use tan before an adjective to say that one thing is the same as the other
- To say that something is the most or least, add a definite article in front of más or menos
- Use -isimo, -císimo and -érrimo endings to talk about extreme qualities
Practice Comparatives and Superlatives in Spanish
I hope that now you’re thinking that comparatives and superlatives in Spanish are an easy topic. Más fácil que muchos otros (easier than many others).
What’s left? Practice. Even easy grammar topics require time to settle down in your long-term memory.
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