What will you learn in this article
  1. What are the three degrees of comparison in adverbs
  2. Why are the three degrees of comparison used
  3. What are the different rules of comparison in adverbs
ExamConnect

Knowledge of adverb comparison will help you in exam questions like:

  1. Sentence correction
  2. Fill in the blanks
  3. Parajumbles
  4. Writing descriptive answers
  5. Reading comprehension

Three Degrees of Adverb Comparison

In the last article, we talked about how to order multiple adverbs in the same sentence. This time we will be talking about multiple forms of adverbs, i.e., the three degrees of comparison.

When we describe somebody’s action, there will always be someone who is better at that action than them. And then there is someone who is the best at that action. 

For example: Bhubhaneshwar Kumar bowls fast, but Shami bowls faster. Of course, Bumrah bowls the fastest! 

Thus, words which describe actions, i.e. adverbs, have three degrees of comparison. They  are compared just like adjectives are- the positive, the comparative and the superlative.

There are three basic rules for comparison of adverbs:

1. Adverbs with only one syllable

If the adverb has only one syllable then its comparative degree is formed by attaching an ‘er’ in the end, and its superlative is formed by attaching ‘est’ in the end.

AbsoluteComparativeSuperlative
FastFasterFastest
HardHarderHardest
SmoothSmootherSmoothest

2. Adverbs with one syllable, ending with ‘y’

For adverbs which have a single syllable but end with ‘y’, in the comparative degree, the ‘y’ gets replaced by ‘ier’ and in superlative form the ‘y’ gets replaced by ‘iest’.

AbsoluteComparativeSuperlative
EasyEasierEasiest
ClassyClassierClassiest

3. Adverbs ending with ‘ly’

Adverbs that end with ‘ly’ form the comparative by adding ‘more’ before it and the superlative by adding ‘most’ before it

AbsoluteComparativeSuperlative
SwiftlyMore swiftlyMost swiftly
GracefullyMore gracefullyMost gracefully
TactfullyMore tactfullyMost tactfully
Easily More easilyMost easily

Some Exceptions

In some cases, the comparative and superlative degrees of comparison take irregular forms. Following are some important examples:

AbsoluteComparativeSuperlative
Badlyworse (than)worst (the)
Farfartherfarthest
Farfurtherfurthest
Littlelessleast
Muchmoremost
Wellbetterbest

This was a quick, concise and eazy way to learn adverbs for entrance exams. A good reading of this chapter will make your understanding of adverbs better and enable you to spot and correctly use adverbs in your sentences. 


Check Your Understanding
  1. What are the three degrees of adverb comparison?
  2. What is the superlative form of:
  1. Easily
  2. Much
  3. Smooth
  4. Tactfully

3) Select the correct order of the following phrases to make a meaningful sentence:

  1. Shoaib runs fastest  
  2. After a month of observing I realised that
  3. Ritika runs faster and 
  4. Rishabh runs fast

(i) dbac

(ii) bdca

(iii) abcd

(iv) dcab

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