Comparative/Superlative Adjectives in Spanish Grammar

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How to make comparisons in Spanish

The comparative and superlative forms of adjectives (los grados del adjetivo) allow us to compare two or more things.

We make comparisons in Spanish by using adjectives with words like más, menos and tan.

Learn about the different types of comparative and superlatives in Spanish grammar with Lingolia’s simple overview then put your knowledge to the test in the exercises.


María es tan rápida como Carolina.

Clara es más rápida que María.

Clara es la más rápida.

Clara es la corredora más rápida.

Clara es rapidísima.

Comparative Adjectives

Comparatives allow us to compare two or more things. Spanish uses similar structures to English to make comparisons:

  • más + adjective + que = more … than
Clara es más rápida que María.
Clara is faster than Maria.
  • menos + adjective + que = less … than
María es menos rápida que Clara.
María is not as fast as Clara.
  • tan + adjective + como = (just) as … as
María es tan rápida como Carolina.
María is as fast as Carolina.

Remember: the adjective ending agrees in number and gender with the noun it describes.

Superlative Adjectives

Superlative adjectives show the highest level of a quality. In Spanish grammar, superlative adjectives can be relative or absolute.

The Relative Superlative

The relative superlative compares people, places or things against all others in the same group or category (the best, the worst, the most interesting …).

The Spanish superlative is formed as follows:

  • el/la/los/las + más/menos + adjective = the most/least …
Clara es la más rápida.
Clara is the fastest.
Clara es la corredora más rápida.
Clara is the fastest runner.
Carolina es la corredora más lenta.
Carolina is the slowest runner.
Sofía es la menos rápida del grupo.
Sofía is the slowest in the group.

Remember: the adjective ending agrees in number and gender with the noun it describes.

Irregular Comparative and Superlative Forms

Like in English, certain adjectives have completely irregular comparative and superlative forms:

Basic Adjective Comparative Superlative
bueno mejor el mejor u óptimo
malo peor el peor o pésimo
poco menos -
mucho más -
grande mayor el mayor o máximo
pequeño menor el menor o minimo

Some adjectives use a instead of que to form the comparative.

inferior asmaller than
superior alarger than
anterior abefore, earlier than …
posterior aafter, later than …

The Absolute Superlative

The absolute superlative lets us express an extreme degree of a certain quality.

It is formed by adding -ísimo/-ísima/-ísimos/-ísimas to the word root of the adjective. We usually translate this with very, extremely, unbelievably, etc.

Clara es rapidísima. Clara is very/unbelievably/extremely fast.
rápida → rapidísima
Fue un examen facilísimo. It was a very easy exam.
fácil → facilísimo

There are certain spelling exceptions to note when forming the absolute superlative:

Basic Adjective Absolute Superlative
amable amabilísimo
antiguo antiquísimo
amplio amplísimo
célebre celebérrimo
cruel crudelísimo
cursi cursilísimo
fiel fidelísimo
fuerte fortísimo
joven jovencísimo
largo larguísimo
misero misérrimo
noble nobilísimo
pobre paupérrimo
rico riquísimo
sabio sapientísimo
sagrado sacratísimo

Adjectives with no comparative forms

Certain adjectives in Spanish are non-gradable; they can’t be used in the comparative or superlative.

These include:

  • extreme adjectives: preciosobeautiful/valuable, deliciosodelicious, extraordinarioextraordinary, gigantehuge, pésimoawful, excelenteexcellent, horrorosohorrific
    Tu casa es gigante.Your house is huge.
    not: Tu casa es más gigante que la mía.
  • colours
    Este boli es rojo.This pen is red.
    not: Este boli es rojísimo.
  • numeral adjectives
    Pascual ha llegado el último corredor a la meta.Pascual was the last runner to reach the finish line.
    not: Pascual ha llegado a la meta más último que el anterior.
  • relational adjectives
    Adoro la dieta mediterránea.I love Mediterranean food.
    not: Me gustaría probar una dieta menos mediterránea que esta.
  • adverbial adjectives
    La actual ministra está en una reunión.The current minister is in a meeting.
    not: Esta ministra es más actual que la otra.

Modifying colours

In English, we add the ending -ish to colours to indicate low intensity (bluish, reddish, etc.).

Spanish expresses this idea with the following adjectives:

azul → azuladoblue → bluish
naranja → anaranjadoorange → orangey
marrón → amarronadobrown → brownish
verde → verdosogreen → greenish
amarillo → amarillentoyellow → yellowish
rojo → rojizored → reddish
rosa → rosáceopink → pinkish
gris → grisáceogrey → greyish
negro → negruzcoblack → blackish
blanco → blanquecinowhite → whiteish