Nouns, adjectives, comparatives and superlatives

by John July 26, 2022
English Grammar Guide: Nouns, adjectives, comparatives and superlatives

What is a noun? What is an adjective?

At the Central School of English, we help students learn and improve their grammar.

Today, we will talk about nouns, adjectives, comparatives and superlatives.


A noun is a word we use for a thing.

Nouns are people, places and things.

Some common people nouns are: mother, father, sister, brother, man, woman etc.

Some common place nouns are: Ireland, Dublin, The Central school, The United states.

Some common thing nouns are: pen, table, car, music, movie.

Notice that the first letter of a place name or a person’s name is always a capital (BIG) letter:

O’Connell Street

The name of a thing or animal does not begin with a capital letter:



A noun is the name of a thing


Adjectives are words we use to describe nouns.

The word table is a noun. But how do we describe the table? We say it is big, wooden, small, long etc.

These words are adjectives.

Here are some more examples of adjectives: tall, beautiful, nice, interesting.

If we use an adjective in a sentence we always put it in front of a noun: adjective + noun

Look at some examples of adjectives and nouns together:

a tall man

a nice lady

a beautiful sky


Let’s make a sentence with these words.

John is a tall man.

Anne is a nice lady.

She looked up at the beautiful sky.


An adjective is a word we use to describe a noun

Comparative adjectives

We have seen what an adjective is and what a noun is.

Now we will look at comparing nouns.

Let’s think about two countries: Ireland and Spain.
To compare the two countries we can use a comparative adjective.

For example:

Spain is bigger than Ireland.
Ireland is smaller than Spain.

We form the comparative of adjectives with one syllable by adding the letters ‘er’ to the adjective.
Sometimes we must also double the final consonant of the adjective, for example big changes to bigger with two g’s.

When we make a sentence with put the word than after the comparative adjective.

Here are some more examples:

The Nile is longer than the Liffey.

Bob is shorter than Pete.

Pete is taller than Bob.

A Fiat is cheaper than a Mercedes.

Mount Everest is higher than Mount Blanc.

Mount Blanc is lower than Mount Everest.

An elephant is larger than a mouse.

A mouse is smaller than an elephant.

Comparative adjectives

  • A comparative adjective is a word we use to compare nouns

  • When an adjective has one syllable we form the comparative by adding ‘er’

  • When we make a sentence we use the word ‘than’ after the comparative adjective

For example: Ireland is smaller than Spain

Superlative adjectives

When we have more than two nouns to compare, we use Superlatives.

Let’s imagine we have three tables. The first table is big, the second table is smaller and the third table is very small.

We can then say: The third table is the smallest table.

We can also say: The first table is the biggest table.

When an adjective has only one syllable we  form the superlative by adding est to the adjective. We also put the word the before the superlative.

Look at more examples below:

The Nile isthe longest river in the world.

Joe has the shortest hair in the family.

Manuel is the tallest person in the class.

Ryanair is the cheapest airline.

Mount Blanc isthe highest mountain in Europe.

The Netherlands is the lowest country in Europe.

The elephant is the largest land animal.

Maria is the smallest person in the class.

Here are some examples of sentences with both comparative and superlative adjectives:

London is bigger than Dublin but Tokyo is the biggest city in the world.

John is taller than Mark but Brian is the tallest in the family.

Superlative adjectives

  • A superlative adjective is a word we use to compare nouns

  • When an adjective has one syllable we form the superlative by adding ‘est to the adjective’

  • When we make a sentence we use the word ‘the’ before the superlative adjective

For example: The Nile is the longest river in the world.

Test Yourself

Use adjectives to make these sentences better.

Example: Andrew is holding a suitcase at the airport.

Answer: Andrew is holding a large suitcase at the airport.


  1. Marina has a computer.?
  2. John lives in a house.
  3. Paul is tall. Nobody in his family is taller.
  4. Maria is wearing a long dress. Her sister’s dress is not long.

Test Yourself

Choose the correct answer.

Nouns and adjectives

1 / 8

Adjectives are...

2 / 8

We use nouns for...

3 / 8

A noun is...

4 / 8

Russia is _________ country in the world.

5 / 8

China is _____________ than Ireland

6 / 8

Alba is __________ her sister.

7 / 8

The pacific ocean is _________ the Atlantic ocean.

8 / 8

Mount Everest is ________ mountain in the world.

Your score is

We hope you liked our post. You’ll find more English grammar tips elsewhere on our site and if you’d like information on our English courses in Dublin, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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