In English we use 2 main methods to form comparisons between two things.
- The Comparative Degree – We add ‘-er’ or ‘est’ for example, long, longer, longest
- The Superlative Degree – We add ‘most’ or ‘ more’ for example, brilliant, more brilliant, most brilliant
This post is going to talk about these to different types in a short an condensed way as I can. There isn’t really too much to cover with these two simple rules but I have a feeling they may be a little tricky for me to master.
The Comparative Degree – Adding “-er” + relevant endings.
jong – young
een jonge man – a young man
een jong meisje – a young woman * note the change in spelling of jong determined by the “het or de” articles.
jonger – younger
een jongere man
een jonger meisje
de jongere man
het jonger meisje
Het meisje is jonger dan de man – The girl is younger than the man.
Die film is interessanter dan deze – That film is more interesting than this one.
Adjectives ending in ‘-r’ insert ‘-d’ before adding the ending. Here are some examples;
- lekker = lekkerder (tastier)
- duur = duurder (more expensive)
- mager = magerder (thinner)
- ver = verder (further)
Tricky bit, for me anyway, comparative adjectives add an ‘-e’ following the adjective rules when they consist of two syllables:
Wij hebben een grotere tuin nodig – We need a bigger garden
The Superlative Degree – Adding ‘-st’ (or just the ‘-t’ is the word ends in ‘-s’)
Similar to the Comparative Degree the article determines the ending of the adjective.
Oud – Old
Een oude man – An old man
Een oud schip – An old ship
Oudst – Oldest
De oudste man – The oldest man
Het oudst schip – The oldest ship
When the superlative adjective follows the verb “to be” and does not precede a noun it takes on the definite article of ‘het’. Here are some examples:
- De handtag is het mooist – That handbag is the most beautiful
- Dit boet is het beste – This book is the best.
The Dutch use superlatives to compare:
- Zij is de jongste van de twee zusters – she is the younger of the two sisters
- Zij is de jongste van de drie zusters – She is the youngest of the three sister.
- best – best
- meest – most
- minst – least
- meer – more
- weinig – little