L09: The Comparative form of adjectives - Part 1

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L09: The Comparative form of adjectives - Part 1

Post by Peter »

(La forma comparativa degli aggettivi)

Like adverbs of manner, descriptive adjectives in particular take comparative and superlative forms. We use these forms in order to make comparisons. In this Lesson we look at the comparative form of adjectives. Part 1 covers regular adjectives, while in Part 2 we look at the comparatives of irregular adjectives. We will cover the Superlative forms in Lesson 10.

Forming comparative adjectives

We use comparative adjectives to make comparisons between two people, animals or things. In English the comparison is rendered either by adding –er or –ier to the stem adjective, or by preceding the adjective with more. Of course you can also have a negative comparison, in which case less appears before the adjective.


loud > louder/less loud; soft >softer/less soft; heavy > heavier/less heavy; angry > angrier/less angry

dangerous > more/less dangerous; affluent > more/less affluent

In Italian the concept of more and less is rendered by the use of più or meno, as in the following:

Because there has been a lot of erosion the cliffs are more dangerous now
Perché c’è stata molta erosione, le scogliere sono più pericolose adesso

As a result of the economic crisis people have become less affluent
Come conseguenza della crisi economica, la gente è diventata meno benestante

Away from the city we enjoy a slower pace of life
Di là dalla città ci divertiamo un ritmo più lento della vita

My motorbike is faster than his
La mia motocicletta è più veloce che la sua


A good way of making a comparison is by using as…as, which can be expressed in several ways in Italian.

1. Using tanto…quanto

Mrs Bernini is as intelligent as she is hard-working
La signora Bernini è tanto intelligente quanto diligente

Adrianna is as pretty as she is clever
Adrianna è tanto bella quanto intelligente

2. Using così…come

The news today is not as interesting as yesterday’s
Le notizie di oggi non sono così interessanti come quelle di ieri

Note that with both tanto…quanto and così…come you do not repeat the verb in the second part of the comparison.

3. Using essere plus che or come

It is not always necessary to use tanto or così in the first part of the comparison. Simply using essere and either che or come can suffice.

My motorbike is as fast as his
La mia motocicletta è veloce come la sua

My motorbike is not as fast as his
La mia motocicletta è meno veloce che la sua

More than/less than

To compare more than or less than you use più (more) or meno (less) together with di or che. Di must agree in gender and number with the noun to which it relates.

Use di before a noun, pronoun, adverb or number.
Use che before an adjective, verb, or a noun or pronoun preceded by a preposition.

My motorbike is faster than his
La mia motocicletta è più veloce che la sua

That one is bigger than the others
Quello è più grande degli altri

Giacomo is fitter than his brothers
Giacomo è più in forma dei suoi fratelli

Gianni finds writing easier than Giorgio
Gianni trova la scrittura più facile che fa Giorgio

This time the journey was more difficult than before
Questa volta il viaggio era più difficile che di prima

That dress is less expensive than the one you have just bought
Quel vestito è meno caro di quello che hai appena comprato

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