How to Make Comparisons in Spanish - My Daily Spanish

How to Make Comparisons in Spanish

When learning a new language, it’s quite important to learn how to compare things. In this blog article, we’ll look at Spanish comparatives and superlatives, learn about making comparisons in Spanish, and also some handy phrases that can be slipped into conversation or writing!

A comparative compares two things, while a superlative describes something to the highest possible degree. For example:

Adjective

Comparative

Superlative

Bright

Brighter

Brightest

Happy

Happier

Happiest

Expensive

More expensive

Most expensive

Comparatives

Let’s start with comparatives—those are the words which often end in –er in English. We need to know how to say that A is ‘more + adjective’ or ‘less + adjective’ than B. The formula is pretty simple. The words for ‘more’ and ‘less’ are these:

More

Más

Less

Menos

All you have to do is stick más or menos before the adjective (that’s the word which describes a noun), then add que, meaning ‘than.’

 So that's: más or menos + adjective + que

Let’s look at some examples:

María is more elegant than Juan.

María es más elegante que Juan.

Ana is less greedy than Ignacio.

Ana es menos golosa que Ignacio.

Your mental health is more important than this exam.

Tu salud mental es más importante que este examen.

The UK is less humid than Thailand.

El Reino Unido es menos húmedo que Tailandia.

The book is funnier (more funny) than the film.

El libro es más gracioso que la película.

Jorge is less grumpy than his twin brother.

Jorge es menos gruñón que su gemelo.

This formula also works for adverbs (words which describe verbs), as you can see here:

Marta fights more bravely than her brother.

Marta lucha más valientemente que su hermano.

Today, they spoke less confidently than yesterday.

Hoy hablaron menos confiadamente que ayer.


Superlatives

Superlatives allow us to say that something is ‘the most + adjective’ or ‘the least + adjective.’ All you have to do is add el/la/los/las before más or menos. You choose whichever one matches the noun, and remember to make sure the adjective also agrees with the noun.

Some examples will make it clearer.

Jason is the funniest (the most funny).

Jason es el más gracioso.

Caitlyn is the least tall.

Caitlyn es la menos alta.

My shoes are the shiniest.

Mis zapatos son los más brillantes.

My female cousins are the least annoying.

Mis primas son las menos molestas.

Top tip: to make something plural, you’ll need to add –s or –es.

Irregular

As usual, you won’t get away with learning Spanish without learning exceptions to the rules! There aren’t too many to learn, but they are really common, so it’s worth taking time to practice them.

Don’t forget, we have these irregularities in English, too! You wouldn’t describe something as ‘gooder’ or ‘badder’ than something else, you’d say ‘better’ or ‘worse.’ The same kinds of words are irregular in Spanish.

Good (/well*)

Bueno/a (/bien*)

Better

Mejor

Best

El/la mejor


Bad (/badly*)

Malo/a (/mal*)

Worse

Peor

Worst

El/la peor

*As well as adjectives, you may want to use comparatives and superlatives with adverbs. It’s the difference between “you did a good job” and “you did the job well.”

Big (in the sense of ‘old,’ e.g. when talking about siblings)

Grande

Bigger (older)

Mayor

Biggest (eldest)

El/la mayor


Small (in the sense of ‘young,’ e.g. when talking about siblings)

Pequeño/a

Smaller (younger)

Menor

Smallest (youngest)

El/la menor

Más de/Menos de

So far we’ve looked at más and menos with que. There are some occasions when you’ll need to use más de or menos de. This is for when you’re using numbers or quantities.

There will be more than 30 people.

Habrá más de 30 personas.

There will be fewer than 30 chairs.

Habrá menos de 30 sillas.

Phrases that use comparatives

There are several phrases that are super useful to know, and they all involve some form of comparison. Let’s take a look:

As ... as …

Tan ... como …

Victoria is as kind as Nacho.

Victoria es tan amable como Nacho.


The more … , the more …

Cuanto más … , más …

The more I work, the more money I earn.

Cuanto más trabajo, más dinero gano.


More and more

Cada vez más

I’m getting more and more excited.

Me pongo cada vez más emocionada.


As … as possible

Lo más … posible

Dress as smartly as possible.

Vístase lo más arreglado posible.


More than anything (mainly)

Más que nada

I mainly like rock music.

Más que nada, me gusta la música rock.


More or less

Más o menos

- How old are you? Like 40?

- Haha, more or less!

- ¿Cuántos años tienes? ¿40 o así?

- ¡Jaja*, más o menos!

*This is legit how Spanish speakers write ‘haha,’ which makes sense, because the Spanish ‘j’ sound is quite like the English ‘h’ sound! Jajaja.

What a ... ...

¡Qué ... más ...!

What a beautiful dog!

¡Qué perro más bonito!


To go from bad to worse

Ir de mal en peor

The situation has gone from bad to worse.

La situación ha ido de mal en peor


To go from bad to worse

Salir de Guatemala para entrar en Guatepeor

You’re going from bad to worse with your grades!

¡Con estas notas, sales de Guatemala para entrar en Guatepeor!



Quiz time!

What ~better~ way to finish off than to have a little practice?! Use the guide above to help you translate the following sentences from Spanish into English. If you’re feeling daring, try and translate the English phrases into Spanish, too!

In case you need it, this glossary has some of the words used in the context of the quiz!

there is/there are

hay

adults

los adultos

children

los niños

I have

tengo

money

dinero

than you

que tú

dances

baila

beautifully

hermosamente

I go out

salgo

frequently

frecuentemente

brave

valiente

selfish

egoísta

but

pero

husband

marido

was

fue

a day

un día

I sing

yo canto

than her

que ella

my brother

mi hermano

than me

que yo

I want

quiero

to see you

verte

I saw

vi

cars

coches

stubborn

terco/a

your dad

tu papá

house

la casa

ready

listo/a

exam

examen

to spend

gastar

than him

que él

I understand

entiendo

1. Hay más adultos* que niños.

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*Note that we can use comparatives with nouns, too!

2. Tengo menos dinero que tú.

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3. Carolina baila más hermosamente que Juana.

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4. Salgo menos frecuentemente que mi gemelo.

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5. Clara es la más valiente.

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6. Miguel es el menos egoísta.

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7. Soy una persona buena, pero mi marido es mejor.

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8. Ayer fue un día malo. Hoy fue peor.

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9. Yo canto mejor que ella.

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10. Mi hermano es mayor que yo.

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11. Más que nada, quiero verte.

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12. Vi más de 150 coches.

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13. Juanca es menor que yo.

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14. Eres tan terco que tu papá.

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15. Es cada vez más difícil.

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16. La casa está más o menos lista.

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17. ¡Qué examen más difícil!

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BONUS QUESTIONS:

18. Pedro dances more often than Laura.

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19. I want to spend as much as possible.

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20. Cristina is more important than him.

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I understand Spanish better.

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Well done for getting through the quiz; there were some tough ones in there!

Final word

Hopefully this has given you a solid basis for making comparisons in Spanish. Remember to make a daily learning habit—practice a little every day, and you should see your Spanish going de bien en mejor!

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About the Author Annabel Beilby

Annabel is a language-enthusiast from the UK. She studied Spanish and French at the University of Southampton (with an Erasmus study year in Madrid!) and recently graduated. She has interests across the Spanish-speaking world, and is a fan of language in general.

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