Comparisons

A comparison can be created using adjectives or adverbs. The basic construction of comparison sentences is the same for both.

Comparisons with adjectives

The sentence structure for a superiority comparison using an adjective looks like this:

          Subject + linking verb + más + adjective + que + noun (or pronoun)
          Marla es más interesante que Rosa.
           Marla is more interesting than Rosa.

The expression “more interesting” sounds idiomatically correct because interesting is a long adjective. Be aware that in English a shorter adjective will be written with a suffix – er to indicate comparisons. It sounds better to say “taller” than “more tall” because “tall” is such a short adjective. In Spanish, it doesn't matter how long or short the adjective is, the expression “more …” is always used, except in the few instances when a comparative word is more appropriate, such as mejor (better) or peor (worse), for example.

           Victoria es más alta que Samuel.
           Victoria is taller (more tall) than Samuel.

            Victoria es más inteligente que Sara.
            Victoria is more intelligent than Sara.

The sentence structure of an inferiority comparison using an adjective looks like this:

            Subject + linking verb + menos + adjective + que + noun (or pronoun)
            
Martín es menos guapo que Gonzalo.
            
Martín is less attractive than Gonzalo.

            Martina es menos loca que Diego.
            
Martina is less crazy than Diego.

In the preceding examples, notice that when the two people or things being compared are of different genders, the adjective must match the gender of the subject of the sentence.

Comparatives of equality

A comparative of equality means that the people or things being compared have equal characteristics or possessions. To express a comparison of equality, you will use an adjective with the expression “ tan …como” even though in English you use the same word twice: “as …as” to create equivalent expressions, as shown here:

           Subject + linking verb + tan + adjective + como + noun (or pronoun)
           
Susana es tan popular como su hermano. 
           Susana is as popular as her brother.

In the followinig examples, the adjective matches the subject of the sentence.

           Gabriela es tan loca como su padre.
           
Gabriela is as crazy as her father.

            Ramón es tan rico como ella.
            Ramón is as rich as she (is).

When a comparison of nouns indicates equivalence, the same formula is used, except that tan becomes the adjective tanto (– a, –os, –as) and must match the gender and number of the noun that follows it.

             Subject + linking verb + tanto + noun + como + noun (or pronoun)
             Mateo tiene tantos televisores como Marisol.
             Matt has as many televisions as Marisol.

             El maestro tiene tanta paciencia como un santo.
             The teacher has as much patience as a saint.

Superlatives

superlative is the maximum level of the adjective. In English, a superlative is created with a definite article in front of an adjective, and the suffix – est is attached to the end of it. The tallest, the prettiest, or the smartestcan be qualified by a prepositional phrase “in the class” or “at the party.” This is done in Spanish with a formula very similar to comparisons, except the definite article (el, los, la, las) precedes the más or menos, and de oren are used instead of que. Superlatives only work with adjectives, not adverbs. The formula for creating a superlative expression is as follows:

             Subject + linking verb + definite article + más +adjective + de + rest of sentence.
             Eva es la más alta de la escuela.
             Eva is the tallest in the school.

              Ignacio y Mateo son los más guapos de todos.
              Ignacio and Matt are the most handsome of all.

In English a negative superlative is always created by using the term “the least.” In Spanish the same formula as previously shown is used with menos before the adjective. The formula for creating a negative superlative expression is as follows:

              Subject + linking verb + definite article + menos +adjective + de + rest of sentence.
              Pepe es el menos alto de la escuela.
              Pepe is the least tall in the school.

Comparisons with adverbs

Remember, adverbs use the feminine form of the adjective whenever possible perezosamente) . When there is no feminine form, the adjective just takes on the suffix –mente. Look at the examples following each formula to see how to create comparisons between adverbs.

  • Subject + verb + más + adverb + que + noun (or pronoun)

                 Beti estudia más diligentemente que Carmen.
                 Beti studies more diligently than Carmen.

                 Lolita trabaja más perezosamente que Berto.
                 Lolita works more lazily than Berto.

  • Subject + verb + menos + adverb + que + noun (or pronoun)

                 Lola se viste menos elegantemente que Daniela.
                 Lola dresses less elegantly than Daniela.

                 Mercedes escribe menos cuidadosamente que su hermano.
                 Mercedes writes less carefully than her brother.

When the comparison (more than, less than) results in a number following the más que or menos que, then que changes to de unless the sentence is negative, as shown in these examples:

                  Tengo más de veinte dólares.
                  I have more than twenty dollars.

                  Cuesta menos de veinte dólares.
                   It costs less than twenty dollars.

                   No tengo más que diez dólares.
                    I don't have more than ten dollars. (I have only ten dollars.)

Irregular comparisons

In both languages, there are some comparison words that are formulated irregularly. A good example is the adjective good. If it followed normal rules, you would say “gooder,” and little kids do this before they learn it's irregular. The adjectives in the following list have irregular comparatives. Instead of saying más bueno, you say mejor. Insead of menos bueno, you say peor.

Notice that mayor is used when bigger really means older. If you are actually talking about size, use más grande (more big). The same is true with the word little. In English little can be used to refer to age, as in “my little sister.” The adjective menor indicates less age, but to indicate less size, use menos grande (less big) or más pequeño (more small) . Here are some examples:

                 Mi casa es más grande que tu casa.
                 My house is bigger than your house.

                 Yo soy mayor que mi hermano.
                 
I am bigger (older) than my brother.

                 Tu casa es más pequeña que mi casa.
                 Your house is smaller than my house.

                 Tu hermana es menor que mi hermana.
                 Your sister is younger than my sister.