This page contains information to support educators and families in teaching grade K-3 students about comparative adjectives. It is designed to complement the Using Adjectives to Compare topic on BrainPOP Jr.

Review with children that an adjective is a word that describes a noun. Give a few examples of how we use adjectives: soft blanket, furry pet, big book. Ask children to give some examples, too, as a way to check their understanding. We recommend screening the Adjectives and Adverbs movie for review of this topic.  

Tell children that we use adjectives to compare two or more things. Give a couple of real examples, such as showing two different-sized carrots and asking which is longer or two pencils and asking which has a sharper point. Explain that when we compare two things we add the letters –er to the end of the word, so long becomes longer and sharp becomes sharper. Now compare three items, such as three different sized balls and ask which is smallest or make three sounds of increasing volumes and asking which is loudest. Point out that when we compare three or more things, we add the letters -est to the end of the word, so small becomes smallest and loud becomes loudest.   

Now explain that not all adjectives get an -er or -est at the end when used to compare. Describe these rules to children and see if they can think of more examples of each.

  • For adjectives that end with a silent e, such as large, add an -r or -stlarger and largest 
  • For adjectives that end with a y, such as silly, drop the y and add -ier or -iest: sillier and silliest 
  • For three-letter adjectives that have a consonant-vowel-consonant pattern, such as hot, double the second consonant (t in hot) and add -er or -esthotter and hottest.

Tell children that for most adjectives with more than two syllables, we form the comparative by adding the word more or most and less or least before them.  For example, more beautiful and most beautiful

Finally, point out that there are some irregular adjectives such as good, which becomes better and best, and bad which becomes worse and worst

Remind children that adjectives bring writing to life, and using them to compare helps readers visualize and understand what the writer is describing. Encourage them to notice adjectives that compare when they read or talk.