Typically, adjectives go in front of nouns, adverbs in front of adjectives and determiners in front
The dog (determiner, noun).
The Alsatian dog. (determ, adjective, noun)
The large, Alsatian dog. (determ, adj, adj, noun)
The ferocious, large, Alsatian dog. (determ, adj, adj, adj, noun)
The surprisingly ferocious, large, Alsatian dog. (determ, adverb, adj, adj, adj, noun)
Comparative & Superlative Adjectives
Comparative adjectives compare two people or objects (nouns). We have two ways of changing an adjective into a comparative, depending on how many syllables it has. When using comparatives, they are usually followed by ‘than’.
Superlatives compare more than two nouns indicating which is unique from the rest. Because it is unique, it is nearly always preceded by the definite article ‘the’.
Adjective Comparative Superlative
one syllable + -er + -est
tall taller tallest
fast faster fastest
green greener greenest
two syllables, ending in “y” + -ier + -iest
noisy noisier noisiest
happy happier happiest
busy busier busiest
two syllables (no ‘y’) more most
modern more modern most modern
famous more famous most famous
three syllables or more more most
important more important most important
expensive more expensive most expensive
Irregular Comparatives and Superlatives
good better best
bad worse worst
little less least
many or much more most
far further / farther furthest / farthest
Bill Gates is wealthier than Jack Welch.
Rio de Janeiro is more expensive than Fortaleza.
The water is cleaner in Amazonas than it is in São Paulo.
Moscow is further than London from São Paulo.
Sometimes we use a comparative with the same noun, but comparing it ‘before’ and ‘after’ a change. In this case, it can also be used without ‘than’.
I feel fitter than I did last year.
Joey wants a bigger piece of cake than you gave him last week.
The sky looks bluer when there is less pollution. [We are comparing the sky with pollution and the sky without].
Alice needs a higher grade if she is to get into University.
My brother looks younger without his moustache.
The plane flies faster when there is no headwind.
* When emphasizing the difference between the nouns, we place much in front of the comparative:
Michael Jordan is much taller than Tiger Woods.
My boss’s Ferrari is much faster than my ‘bug’ (Fusca).
I look much more intelligent with my glasses on.
* We can also use comparatives and superlatives in front of adverbs.
Michael moved quickly, but his opponent moved more quickly.
* When comparing two nouns that are equal, we use the structure as + adjective + as. If they are nearly equal, we can modify the comparison using almost or nearly.
Iceland is as cold as northern Canada.
Elvis was as popular as The Beatles.
Learning Arabic is probably as difficult as learning Chinese.
When I was 11 years old I was almost as tall as my father.
To some people, calculus seems almost as difficult as quantum physics.
* We can also use comparatives for comparing ratios (razões / proporções).
The longer that I live in Brazil, the more I like it.
The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
The less money you have, the higher the cost of borrowing.
The fatter people become, the more difficult it is to be comfortable in an airplane seat.
The more successful the outcome, the bigger the pay check.
Superlatives cannot be used in this way, however.
Question: When is an adjective not an adjective? Answer: When it is part of a link verb.
As we have seen, adjectives describe nouns. However, it is possible to combine some verbs with any adjective to create a ‘link verb.’
I feel strange.
If you stay in the sun, you'll go red, and if you eat too much ice-cream you'll get fat.
My brother is tall and thin, but is becoming lazy.
The words strange, red, fat, tall and lazy are normally adjectives (e.g. The sun dipped behind a tall building. - here tall is describing the noun building) but in the examples above they are attached (linked) to a verb - to feel, to go, to get, to be, to become - to create a 'link verb'. Link verbs are extremely common.