8.4 Comparisons and superlatives

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1 ANTE TODO Spanish and English use comparisons to indicate which of two people or things has a lesser, equal, or greater degree of a quality. Both languages also use superlatives to express the highest or lowest degree of a quality.

2 COMPARISONS menos interesante más grande tan sabroso como less interesting bigger as delicious as SUPERLATIVES la / el mejor la / el peor la más alta the best the worst the tallest

3 Comparisons of inequality Comparisons of inequality are formed by placing más (more) or menos (less) before adjectives, adverbs, and nouns and que (than) after them. adjective más/menos + adverb + que noun

4 Comparisons of inequality ADJECTIVES Los bistecs son más caros que el pollo. Steaks are more expensive than chicken. Estas uvas son menos sabrosas que esa pera. These grapes are less tasty than that pear.

5 Comparisons of inequality ADVERBS Me acuesto más tarde que tú. I go to bed later than you (do). Mi hermano se despierta menos temprano que yo. My brother wakes up less early than I (do).

6 Comparisons of inequality NOUNS Juan prepara más platos que José. Juan prepares more dishes than José (does). Susana come menos carne que Enrique. Susan eats less meat than Enrique (does).

7 ATENCIÓN! Note that while English has a comparative form for short adjectives and adverbs (taller, later), such forms do not exist in Spanish (más alto, más tarde). When the comparison involves a numerical expression, de is used before the number instead of que. Hay más de cincuenta naranjas. Llego en menos de diez minutos.

8 Comparisons of inequality With verbs, the following construction is used to make comparisons of inequality: [ verb ] + más/menos que Mis hermanos comen más que yo. My brothers eat more than I (do). Arturo duerme menos que su padre. Arturo sleeps less than his father (does).

9 Comparisons of equality The following constructions are used to make comparisons of equality. tan + adjective + como adverb tanto/a (s) + singular noun + como plural noun

10 Comparisons of equality Este plato es tan delicioso como aquél. This dish is as delicious as that one (is). Ustedes probaron tantos platos como ellos. You tried as many dishes as they did.

11 ATENCIÓN! Note that tanto acts as an adjective and therefore agrees in number and gender with the noun it modifies: tantas cosas. Tan and tanto can also be used for emphasis, rather than to compare, with these meanings: tan so, tanto so much, tantos/as so many. Tu almuerzo es tan grande! Your lunch is so big! Comes tanto! You eat so much! Comes tantas manzanas! You eat so many apples!

12 Comparisons of equality Comparisons of equality with verbs are formed by placing tanto como after the verb. Note that in this construction tanto does not change in number or gender. [ verb ] + tanto como No duermo tanto como mi tía. I don t sleep as much as my aunt (does). Estudiamos tanto como ustedes. We study as much as you (do).

13 Superlatives The following construction is used to form superlatives. Note that the noun is always preceded by a definite article and that de is equivalent to the English in or of. el / la / los / las + [ noun ] + más / menos + [ adjective ] + de Es el café más rico del país. It s the most delicious coffee in the country. Es el menú menos caro de todos éstos. It is the least expensive menu of all of these.

14 ATENCIÓN! Superlatives While más alone means more, after a noun or a definite article, it means most.

15 Superlatives The noun in a superlative construction can be omitted if the person, place, or thing referred to is clear. El restaurante El Cráter? The El Cráter restaurant? Es el más elegante de la ciudad. It s the most elegant (one) in the city. Recomiendo el pollo asado. I recommend the roast chicken. Es el más sabroso del menú. It s the most delicious (thing) on the menu.

16 Irregular comparisons and superlatives Adjective Comparative Form Superlative Form bueno/a good mejor better el/la mejor (the) best malo/a bad peor worse el/la peor (the) worst grande/a big mayor bigger el/la mayor (the) biggest pequeño/a small menor smaller el/la menor (the) smallest joven young menor younger el/la menor (the) youngest viejo/a old mayor older el/la mayor (the) eldest

17 Irregular comparatives and superlatives When grande and pequeño/a refer to age, the irregular comparative and superlative forms, mayor and menor, are used. However, when these adjectives refer to size, the regular forms, más grande and más pequeño/a, are used. Isabel es la mayor de su familia. Isabel is the eldest in her family. Tu ensalada es más grande que ésa. Your salad is bigger than that one. Yo soy menor que tú. I m younger than you. Pedí el plato más pequeño del menú. I ordered the smallest dish on the menu.

18 Irregular comparatives and superlatives The adverbs bien and mal have the same irregular comparative forms as the adjectives bueno/a and malo/a. Julio nada mejor que los otros chicos. Julio swims better than the other boys. Ellas cantan peor que las otras chicas. They sing worse than the other girls.

19 Absolute superlatives In Spanish the absolute superlative is equivalent to extremely, exceptionally, super, or very before an adjective or adverb. You encountered an absolute superlative when you learned how to say: Me gusta(n) muchísimo

20 Absolute superlatives To form the absolute superlative of most adjectives and adverbs, drop the final vowel, if there is one, and add -ísimo/a(s). malo mal- malísimo El bistec está malísimo! The steak is very bad! difícil + -ísimo dificilísimo Esta prueba es dificilísima. This quiz is exceptionally difficult. mucho much- muchísimo Comes muchísimo. You eat a lot (very, very much). fácil + -ísimo facilísimo Los exámenes son facilísimos. The tests are extremely easy.

21 Absolute superlatives Adjectives and adverbs whose stem ends in c, g, or z change spelling to qu, gu, and c in the absolute superlative. rico riquísimo largo larguísimo feliz felicísimo

22 Absolute superlatives Adjectives that end in n or r normally form the absolute superlative by adding -císimo. joven + -císimo jovencísimo trabajador + -císimo trabajadorcísimo

23 INTÉNTALO! Escribe el equivalente de las palabras en inglés. Comparativos 1. (than) Ernesto mira más televisión Alberto. 2. (less) Tú eres simpático que Federico. 3. (as much) La camarera sirve carne como pescado. 4. (more) Conozco restaurantes que tú. 5. (as much as) No estudio tú. 6. (as) Sabes jugar al tenis tan bien tu hermana? 7. (as many) Puedes beber refrescos como yo? 8. (as) Mis amigos parecen simpáticos como ustedes. 1 of 2

24 INTÉNTALO! Escribe el equivalente de las palabras en inglés. Superlativos 1. (the most intelligent) Marisa es de todas. 2. (the least boring) Ricardo y Tomás son de la fiesta. 3. (the worst) Miguel y Antonio son estudiantes de la clase. 4. (the eldest) Mi profesor de biología es de la universidad. 5. (extremely delicious) El pollo de este supermercado es. 6. (the youngest) Carlos es de mis hermanos. 7. (the best) Este plato es del restaurante. 8. (extremely tall) Sara es. 2 of 2

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