In English, comparisons can take two forms: synthetic (smarter, lesser, etc.) and compound (more talented, less interesting, etc.). Spanish, however, has three comparative forms: superior, inferior, and equal.
To indicate that one adjective, adverb, or noun is superior to another in some way, use the following construction:
Más + adjective/adverb/noun + que
More(er) + adjective/adverb/noun + than
Indicating inferiority uses a similar construction:
Menos + adjective/adverb/noun + que
Less(er) + adjective/adverb/noun + than
The forms used to express equality in Spanish are different for adjectives/adverbs and nouns. To make a comparison of equality with an adjective or adverb, use the following form:
Tan +adjective/adverb + como
To make a comparison of equality for nouns, use the construction below:
Tanto, -a, -os, -as, (as much, as many) + noun + como
Bueno (good) and malo (bad) have irregular comparative forms:
The superlatives for bueno and malo are based off of the irregular comparatives. So the superlative of bueno is el/la mejor (the best) and the superlative of malo is el/la peor (the worst.)
A handful of adjectives have both regular comparative and irregular comparative forms. As you can see from the table below, the two forms have evolved distinct meanings. Therefore, the regular and irregular comparatives cannot be used interchangeably. Doing so could cause confusion or a possible misunderstanding.
|Adjective||Regular Comparative||Irregular Comparative|
Note that the irregular comparatives mayor and menor are used only for comparisons of age. To say that someone is old without making a comparison, use viejo. To say that someone is young, use joven.