Irregular Comparatives


  1. The written lesson is below.
  2. Links to quizzes, tests, etc. are to the left.

Recall from a previous lesson some examples of comparatives and superlatives:

Tú eres más alto que yo.
You are taller than I.

Juan es el chico más inteligente de la clase.
John is the smartest boy in the class.

The following adjectives have irregular forms for the comparative and the superlative:

Adjective: bueno (good)
Comparative: mejor (better)
Superlative: el/la mejor (best)

Adjective: malo (bad)
Comparative: peor (worse)
Superlative: el/la peor (the worst)

Note that the words más and menos are not used with the irregular comparatives.

Este libro es bueno, pero ese libro es mejor.

Esta película es mala, pero esa película es peor.

With the irregular superlatives, the definite article is used.

Este libro es bueno.
This book is good.
Ese libro es mejor.
That book is better.
Aquel libro es el mejor.
That book over there is the best.

Here are two more adjectives with irregular comparatives and superlatives:

Adjective: grande (big)
Comparative: mayor (older; greater)
Superlative: el/la mayor (the oldest; the greatest)

Adjective: pequeño (small)
Comparative: menor (younger; less)
Superlative: el/la menor (youngest; least)

Note that when referring to size, grande and pequeño follow the normal rules for comparative and superlative forms. That is, they do not use the irregular forms menor and mayor.

Esta casa es grande.
This house is big.
Esa casa es más grande.
That house is bigger.
Aquella casa es la más grande.
That house over there is the biggest.

When referring to age, use the irregular forms mayor and menor.

Juan es menor que María.
Juan is younger than Maria.

María es la mayor de la familia.
Maria is the oldest of the family.

When referring to the concepts “less” or “greater”, use the irregular forms mayor and menor.

El agua es de mayor importancia que la comida.
Water is more important than food.

La comida es de menor importancia que el agua.
Food is less important than water.

The words joven and viejo are used for non-comparative descriptions of age.

El niño es joven.
The boy is young.

El abuelo es viejo.
The grandfather is old.