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Spanish Comparatives of Inequality and Spanish Superlatives.

We have already learned how to make equality comparisons in Spanish (See Comparativos de Igualdad (Spanish Comparisons of Equality)). But how do we compare unequal things?

A. Comparatives of Inequality

In English, we use "-er" at the end of the adjective, or "more" before the adjective. For example:

Your house is bigger than mine
This book is more interesting (than that one)


In Spanish, we use the following expression:

más + adjective / noun / adverb + que


So, the translations for the examples above are:

Tu casa es más grande que la mía
Este libro es más interesante (que aquel)


This is what we call "Comparaciones de superioridad" or "Comparisons of superiority".

But we may also want to express "inferiority comparisons" ("comparaciones de inferioridad"). The Spanish formula in this case is:

menos + adjective / noun / adverb + que


and it corresponds to the English form "less… than".

Examples:

Tu casa es menos grande que la mía
(Your house is less big than mine)

Este libro es menos interesante (que aquel)
This book is less interesting (than that one)


The table below will help you remember this:

Superioridad: más … que (more / -er... than)
Inferioridad: menos ... que (less … than)


    NOTE:

    1.- If after the comparative we use a number, we have to use de instead of que.

    Tengo más de veinte lápices.
    I have more than twenty pencils.


    But with negative sentences, we use que even with numbers, and it's meaning is only:

    No tengo más que veinte lápices
    I only have twenty pencils

B. Superlatives

Superlatives are used to indicate that a person or thing is the best, most, worst or less, comparing it to other persons/things. In English we use: the most / the less (before the adjective / adverb) or -est, at the end of the adjective / adverb.
And this is the way to form Spanish superlatives:

El / la / los / las + noun + más / menos + adjective

As you already know, we'll use el / la / los or las depending on the genre and noun of the noun.
Examples:
Estos son los zapatos más caros.
These are the most expensive shoes.

Los edificios menos caros de la ciudad están aquí.
The less expensive buildings in the city are here.


Exceptions: Grande, Bueno, Bien, Malo and Mal have irregular forms:


Adjetivo / Adverbio
Comparativo / Superlativo
Examples
Grande
Mayor
Mi hermano es mayor que yo.
Mi hermano es el mayor
Bueno
Mejor
Esta canción es mejor que la canción de Ana
Esta canción es la mejor.
Bien
Mejor
Mi hermano se encuentra mejor, gracias
Malo
Peor
Este libro es peor que la película
Este libro es el peor.
Mal
Peor
Me encuentro peor, llama al doctor, por favor.


For any question or doubt, feel free to e-mail me or just post a message at the forum.

¡Que tenga un buen día!
Angeles F.



VOCABULARY IN THIS LESSON (alphabetical order):
aquel (m): that / that one este (m): this malo (m): bad
aquí: here: estos (m): these mayor: bigger / older
bien: good grande: big mejor: better
bueno (m): good interesante: interesting menos: less
casa (f): house la mía (f): mine peor: worse
caro (m): expensive lápices (m) (sing: lápiz): pencils veinte: twenty
ciudad (f): city libro (m): book zapatos (m): shoes
edificio (m): building más: more





Recommended material:

I write monthly articles for "Think Spanish" ("Piensa en español") since 2002. All "Think Spanish" articles are written in Spanish, and they include a Spanish/English glossary. You'll also have the option to buy this magazine including a CD. Nice way to learn about Spanish language and customs!

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