French Comparative and Superlative – Overview & Examples

What is the comparative?

French comparative superlativeIn language we compare adjectives (You are smarter than me), nouns (I have more toys than you) and adverbs (You run faster than me). In French these comparisons are generally constructed with plus…que (more than), moins…que (less than) and aussi…que (as…as).

comparisons of adjectives and adverbs

To compare adjectives use the following constructions: plus + adjective que (more than), moins + adjective + que (less than) and aussi + adjective + que (as adjective as).

  • Je suis plus grand que toi. I’m taller than you.
  • Je suis aussi grand que toi. I’m as tall as you.
  • Je suis moins grand que toi. I’m shorter than you.

Use the exact same format to compare adverbs.

  • Je cours plus rapidement que toi. I run faster than you.
  • Je cours aussi rapidement que toi. I run as fast as you.
  • Je cours moins rapidement que toi. I run slower than you.

comparisons of nouns

To compare nouns put plus de + noun and moins de + noun for more than or less than, respectively. Use autant de + noun for as much or many as.

  • J’ai plus d’argent que toi. I have more money than you.
  • J’ai moins d’argent que toi. I have less money than you.
  • J’ai autant d’argent que toi. I have as much money as you.

comparison of verbs

For verbs, use plus que, moins que and autant que (as much as).

  • J’étudie plus que toi. I study more than you.
  • J’étudie moins que toi. I study less than you.
  • J’étudie autant que toi. I study as much as you.

Pire que or plus mal que mean worse than. Mal here means poorly

  • Je chante mal. Je chante pire que toi. I sing poorly. I sing worse than you.

mieux vs mielleur

There are two ways of expressing better than. The rule for this is simple: attach mieux to verbs and meilleur to nouns. Here’s another way to look at this:

bon (good, attached to nouns) -> meilleur que better than
bien (well, attached to verbs)-> mieux que better than

  • Mon fromage est bon. Mon fromage est meilleur que ton fromage. My cheese is good. My cheese is better than your cheese
  • Tu chantes bien mais je chante mieux que toi. You sing well but I sing better than you.

Use pire que when describing worse than for nouns. Mauvais means bad.

  • Mon vélo est mauvais. Mon velo est pire que to vélo. My bike is bad. My bike is worse than your bike.

Note: Meilleur also means the best when using the superlative.

What is the superlative?

The superlative is used to express the extremes. For example, the best, the worst, the tallest, the shortest.

superlative for adjectives

For adjectives which follow nouns using the following forms: le noun le plus + adjective for the most and le noun le moins + adjective for the least.

  • Je connais la fille la plus intelligente. I know the smartest girl.
  • Je connais la fille la moins intelligente. I know the least intelligent girl.

For adjectives which precede nouns use the following forms: le plus + adjective + noun or le moins + adjective + noun.

  • Sylvie est la plus belle fille de la classe. Sylvie is the most beautiful girl in the class.
  • Marie est la fille la moins belle de la classe. Marie is the least attractive girl in the class.

The superlative for bon and bonne (good) is le meilleur and la meilleure, respectively.

  • Mon fromage est bon. C’est le mielleur fromage du monde! My cheese is good. It’s the best cheese in the world.
  • Ma pizze est bonne. C’est la meilleure pizza de cette ville. My pizza is good. It’s the best pizza in this city!

superlatives for adverbs

For adverbs use le plus and le moins.

  • Je cours le plus rapidement. I run the fastest.
  • Je cours le moins rapidement. I run the least fastest (slowest).

For bien and mal (well and poorly) use le mieux and le plus mal for the best and the worst.

  • Monsieur Dupuis enseigne bien. En fait, il enseigne le mieux. Mr. Dupuis teaches well. In fact, he teaches the best.
  • Madame Dupont enseigne mal. En fait, elle enseigne le plus mal. Mrs. Dupont teaches poorly. In fact, she teaches the worst. 
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