Comparatives and Superlatives in French grammar

What are comparative and superlative adjectives?

The comparative (le comparatif) allows us to compare two nouns. There are three types of comparison: moins … que (less … than), aussi … que (as … as) and plus … que (more … than). The superlative (le superlatif) compares one thing against a whole group and expresses the idea of the most (le plus …) or the least (le moins …).

Learn how to use comparatives and superlatives in French grammar with Lingolia’s quick and easy examples, then put your knowledge to the test in the free exercises.

Example

Marie est aussi rapide que Chloé. Claire est plus rapide que Marie. Claire est la plus rapide. Claire est la coureuse la plus rapide.

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How to form comparatives in French

The comparative is constructed with aussi … que (as … as), plus … que (more … than) or moins … que (less … than). The adjective ending agrees with the gender and number of the noun it is describing.

Example:
Marie est aussi rapide que Chloé.Marie is as fast as Chloé.
Claire est plus rapide que Marie.Claire is faster than Marie.
Marie est moins rapide que Claire.Marie is not as fast as Claire.

How to form superlatives in French

Le superlatif expresses the highest degree of a quality. We construct the superlative by using le/la/les plus + adjective or le/la/les moins + adjective. The adjective’s ending agrees with the noun it is describing.

Example:
Claire est la plus rapide.Claire is the fastest.
Claire est la coureuse la plus rapide.Claire is the fastest runner.
Chloé est la coureuse la plus lente.Chloé is the slowest runner.

Irregular comparatives and superlatives in French

  • Certain adjectives use à instead of que to form the comparative.
    Example:
    inférieur àsmaller than, inferior to
    postérieur àlater than, after…
    supérieur àlarger than, superior to
    antérieur àearlier than, before…
  • Some adjectives have irregular comparative forms.
    Irregular Comparative Forms
    Positive Comparative Superlative
    bon meilleur le meilleur
    mauvais pire le pire
    petit (a little, not much)
    but: petit (small)
    moindre
    plus petit
    le moindre
    le plus petit