Adverbs, like adjectives, can have comparative forms to show how differently things happen.
Comparative adverbs come after the verb they modify in a sentence.
- Could you speak more quietly, please?
- It’s Sunday, so Pete can get up later.
- Jack drives better than his brother.
There are three ways in which the comparative adverbs are formed, depending on the spelling of the base adverb.
Adverbs ending in ‘-ly’
To make comparative forms of most adverbs, use [more or less + adverb (…than)]:
- People can cycle more safely on special cycling roads.
- You should prepare for your exams more seriously than you do now.
- Tommy did his homework less accurately than Mary.
- Jacks talks to people less politely than Ben.
Adverbs with the same form as an adjective
Some short adverbs, like ‘early’, ‘fast’, ‘slow’, ‘hard’, ‘high’, ‘long’, have comparative forms of adjectives with ‘-er’ at the end:
- Turtles move slower than hedgehogs.
- I came to the office earlier than my colleagues.
- Timothy always runs faster than his friends.
- Kate works harder than you, so please be more friendly to her.
Some common adverbs have irregular comparatives that we just have to learn:
- good → well → I can cook better than you.
- bad → badly → Sally sings worse than her sister Emily.
Intensifiers and mitigators
We use these words and phrases as intensifiers with these patterns:
much – far – a lot – quite a lot – a great deal – a good deal – a good bit – a fair bit
- I forget things much more often nowadays.
We use these words and phrases as mitigators:
a bit – just a bit – a little – a little bit – just a little bit – slightly
- She began to speak a bit more quickly.
In this video from MadKat English, you can learn about the basics of comparative adverbs and even test your knowledge: