Study these examples:
Should I drive or take the train?
You should drive. It’s cheaper.
Don’t take the train. It’s more expensive.
Cheaper and more expensive are comparative forms
After comparatives you can use than (see Unit 104):
– It’s cheaper to go by car than by train.
– Going by train is more expensive than going by car.
The comparative form is -er or more …
We use -er for short words (one syllable:)
cheap -> cheaper
fast -> faster
large -> larger
thin -> thinner
We also use -er for two-syllable words that end in -y (-y -> ier):
lucky -> luckier
early -> earlier
easy -> easier
pretty -> prettier
We use more … for longer words (two syllables or more):
We also use more … for adverbs that end in -ly:
Compare these examples:
– You’re older than me.
– The test was pretty easy – easier than I expected.
– Can you walk a little faster?
– I’d like to have a bigger car?
– Last night I went to bed earlier than usual.
– You’re more patient than me.
– The test was pretty difficult – more difficult than I expected.
– Can you walk a little more slowly:
– I’d like to have a more reliable car.
– I don’t play tennis much these days. I used to play more often.
You can use -er or more … with some two-syllable adjectives, especially:
clever narrow quiet shallow simple
- It’s too noisy here. Can we go somewhere quieter / more quiet?
A few adjectives and adverbs have irregular comparative forms:
good/well -> better
– The yard looks better since you cleaned it up.
– I know him well – probably better than anybody else known him.
band/badly -> worse:
– “How is your headache? Better?” “No, it’s worse.”
– He did very badly on the test – worse than expected.
far -> farther (or further):
– It’s a long walk from here to the park – farther than I thought. (or further than)
Further (but not farther) can also mean “more” or “additional”:
– Let me know if you have any further news. (= any more news)