• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!



Page history last edited by Béatrice H. Alves 14 years, 6 months ago





“The higher a man gets, the smaller he seems to those who cannot fly.” Friedrich Nietzche


Comparatives are of course essential. An engineer or a technician is always referring to quality and/ or quantity, hence he has to compare things, data, results, etc. A pilot is always comparing alternatives, performances, situations, etc.




Stating Similarity and Difference



When we compare things, regardless of their quality, we can use words and expressions as follow:


(the) same  (as /that)

The final product quality has to be the same as the samples’.

It’s the same compound that we had separated with the other solvent.


They work alike.

Boeing and Airbus are very much alike for passengers.

analogous (to)

In certain aspects the wings of an aircraft are analogous to those of a bird.


It is a close copy of the prototype.


Their performances are comparable.

equal (to)

Both alloys are equal to the original material.


Airbus A320 and Boeing 747 are equally powerful.


The other supplier made an equivalent offer.

identical (to)

This mold is identical to that one.

He used the competitor’s identical tools.


He has little power to change things and has likewise little strength to give his opinion.


They are two aircrafts of the same make.

similar (to)

Belted bias construction provides smoother ride that is similar to the bias tire


The CAP 232 and the Extra 300 impress similarly during air shows.



Back to top



differ (from)

Industrial engineering in an auto plant differs from that in a food processing plant.

different (from)

A glider is different from a jet aircraft.

The plies and belts are at different angles


Crystallization and polymerization are completely dissimilar.

opposite (to)

The effect of the maneuvers was opposite to the one intended.

other (than)

Other winter tires rely on factors other than studding for traction on ice


They are as unalike as two bird strikes could be.


LEDs are also non-toxic unlike the more popular energy efficient bulb option



Back to top


Comparing Qualities of Things (Comparative of Adjectives)



When we compare 2 objects (A and B) for a quality, we get the following possibilities:


A = B, A < B, A > B


In these cases, we use the comparative. That would be, for example, A is as big (as B), A is not as big (as B) / A is less big (than B) or A is bigger (than B). This last one is the comparative of superiority, the one that depends on the length of the adjective*.



When we compare more than 2 objects or sets (A vs.B, C, D), we get the following possibilities:

A < all the others or A > all the others.

In these cases, we use the superlative. That would be, for example, A is the least big (of all four) or A is the biggest (of all four). This last one is the superlative of superiority and depends on the length of the adjective*.







One-syllable adjectives


add –er**


add –est**

(the) fastest

One-syllable* adjectives ending in –e


add –r


add –st


Two-syllable adjectives ending in –y***


change –y to –ier


change –y to –iest


Two-syllable adjectives ending in –le –er or –ure****


add –r or -er


add –st or -est

(the) simplest



(the) cleverest



(the) maturest

Adjectives with two or more syllables


more + adjective

more realistic

(the)most + adjective

(the)most realistic

Irregular adjectives












farther / further

(the)farthest / (the)furthest


* Be careful with the way we count syllables in English.

A syllable is a part of a word which is pronounced as a unit. For example,

. big, fast, nice, large, white have 1 syllable,

. happy, boring, gentle, polite, English have 2 syllables,

. expensive, terrible, chemical have 3 syllables.

** For adjectives whose 3 last letters are in the sequence Consonant / Vowel / Consonant, we need to double the last consonant (fat – fatter – the fattest, thin – thinner – the thinnest


*** Adding the negative prefix un- does not affect the formation of the comparative. For example, we say unhappy – unhappier - unhappiest


**** This is changing and, for those adjectives, you can also use –er or more (more simple, the most mature, etc.)



Here are some examples in context:


A Mercedes is heavier than a Smart.


Computers are faster today (than in the past).


Computers were less powerful in the past (than now)


I have a more expeditious routing for you.


The runway at Heathrow is longer than at Southampton.


The visibility is better here than in Athens.


The VW Passat is cheaper than the Audi A4.


The weather is worse than before.


This new model is more economical than the old one.

This report is more realistic.




Cirrus is the highest of all tropospheric clouds.


Safety is the most important aspect of aviation.


That was the worst turbulence I’ve ever felt.


The best thing about flying is the speed of travel.


The Renault is the most economical of the cars I looked at.


This car is the cheapest of the three.

This model is the heaviest car in our range.



Back to top


Comparing Actions (Comparative of adverbs)



When we compare the quality of 2 actions described by verbs (A and B), we get the following possibilities:


A = B, A < B, A > B


In these cases, we use the comparative. That would be, for example, A drives as fast as B, A drives less fast than B / A doesn’t drive as fast as B or A drives faster than B.



When we compare more than 2 actions described by verbs (A vs.B, C, D), we get the following possibilities:

A < all the others or A > all the others.

In these cases, we use the superlative. That would be, for example, A drives the least carefully (of all four) or A drives the most carefully (of all four). This last one is the superlative of superiority and depends on the length of the adjective.









One-syllable adverbs


add –er


add –est

(the) hardest

One-syllable* adjectives ending in –e


add –r


add –st

(the) latest

Two-syllable adverbs ending in –ly**


more + adverb

more slowly

(the) most + adjective

(the) most slowly

Adverbs with two or more syllables


more + adverb

more carefully

(the) most + adjective

(the) most carefully

Irregular adjectives







(the) best





farther / further

(the)farthest / (the)furthest

* Be careful with the way we count syllables in English.

** Except early – earlier – (the) earliest



Here are some examples in context:


These tests results should have been delivered earlier.


They filled it up more quickly than last time we were here.


They worked less efficiently.


Why don’t you explain yourself more clearly?


You should prepare your flights more carefully.


He tries the hardest of all the engineers in the department.



Back to top


Being more precise


When the difference is measurable, we place the measure before the comparative forms.


In order for the material to flow properly legs should not be more than ten times longer than their thickness


Our plant in Mexico is two years older than the one in Brazil.


The A380 cabin offers 50% more floor space than the Boeing 747-400.


The SUD was almost twice as long as the standard upper deck.


This one is 3 inches wider.

With 8 of the 16 exits blocked, 853 passengers and 20 crew left the aircraft 12 seconds faster than required by certification standards.


Back to top



Comparing Quantities



When we compare volumes and quantities we make the comparisons by using the comparative of the right quantifier.



Count nouns

Mass nouns


more… (than)


Brazil has more industries than Costa Rica.

more… (than)

There is more excitement in flying than in driving.


fewer … (than)

Quantas suffers fewer losses than Air France.

less … (than)

A simulation requires less time and less investment than an actual crash test.


as many … (as)


There were as many accidents in 2003 as in 1999.

as much … (as)

A mechanical engineer makes as much money as an environmental engineer.

as few …. (as)

You will get as few incidents with either process.

as little …. (as)

There is as little lead in this product as in the other one.





Back to top


Special Uses of Comparisons



To describe something which is increasing or decreasing, we use the comparative in double.


Computers are getting faster and faster.


Due to greenhouse gases the summers are hotter and hotter while the winters are less and less cold.


Lab results nowadays are more and more reliable.


People are getting more and more worried about the economic situation.


The 3D definition is getting better and better.

There are less and less fatalities due to the progress made in avionics.



To describe how one thing increases or decreases in relation to another, we use the following pattern:


The + comparative + complements , the + comparative + complement.


The less crowded the airfield is, the less risky.


The lighter the plane is, the faster it flies.


The more careful we are, the less accidents we have.


The more pressure we apply, the more power we get.

The sooner I take off, the earlier I’ll land.



Back to top


Emphasizing Comparisons



We can add a bit, a little, much, a lot, far (= a lot) or even, before comparative adjectives and adverbs to suggest a stronger comparison.


This device is a bit better than the previous one.


This aircraft is a bit easier to fly.


We’ll perform the crash test a little more carefully this time.


This solution is much cheaper.


The results are much worse than I expected.


That report was written much more recently than this one.


The problem is far more serious than we thought.

This maneuver is even more difficult than a hammerhead.



Back to top





For more information on Comparisons see the Comparisons Plus page.



Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.