4 Ways to Use Comparatives in Spanish

Updated: Nov 18



Imagine you are participating in a discussion about ideas. It's not small talk. It's a discussion about how you feel about something important, like your beliefs, politics, who you feel is better for a job, and so on. Using the right phrases and grammar structures can help you express your ideas well. Knowing how to compare and contrast is a particularly useful tool to get your point across in an interesting way. In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Spanish comparatives.


Specifically, you’ll discover how to master comparatives in Spanish by avoiding a few of the most common mistakes that English natives make with these Spanish phrases.


We’ll start by looking at the four main structures for making comparisons in Spanish.

a) Comparing adjectives

b) Superlative adjectives

c) Comparing adverbs

d) Comparing nouns


1. Comparative Adjectives

The comparative structure expresses more than, less than, or the same as. Let's see some examples.


a) More than

The Use the rule más + adjective + que to compare two things.

  • Juliana es más fuerte que Juan. (July is stronger than Jhon)

  • La revista es más interesante que el libro. (The magazine is more interesting than the book)

b) Less than

The Use the rule menos + adjective + que to compare two things.

  • El libro es menos interesante que la revista. (The book is less interesting than the magazine)

  • Las camisas son menos caras que los vestidos. (The shirts are less expensive than the dresses.)

c) The same as

The Use the rule tan + adjective + como to compare two things.

  • Estas tortas son tan dulces como estos pasteles. (These cakes are as sweet as those pastries)

  • ¿Es el perro tan inteligente como el gato?. (Is the dog as intelligent as the cat?)

Of course, many of your comparative statements will simply be matters of opinion and, as such, will be totally subjective.


Listening Activity No. 1: "Adjective comparisons"

Let's see some examples with this video. Take notes of the information you consider important and listen carefully to identify the phrases presented above plus a few new ones. Press PLAY when you are ready.


2. Superlative Adjectives


There comes a time when comparing two things just isn’t enough. It doesn’t seem satisfactory to just say which place is better. Instead, it’s far more fun to say which thing is The Best. Yeah, that’s right, with capital letters. Or even the whole thing in capitals for the excited teenager effect: This is THE BEST!!!


The way you make a superlative in Spanish is very similar to English. You can add as many exclamation marks as you like and put it in capitals, but you’ll always need “the,” just like in English.


The magic formula is: el/la + más/menos + adjective + de. 


Note the use of de and not que. In the superlative structure, Spanish de can be translated as in.


a) The most/the least

  • ¿Quién es la persona más fuerte de su familia? (Who is the strongest person in your family)

  • ¿Cuál es la clase menos interesante de la escuela? (Which is the least interesting class in the school?)

  • Hoy es el día más caluroso del verano. (Today is the hottest day of the summer)

  • La primavera es la estación más lluviosa en mi región. (The spring is the wettest season in my region)

You can also omit the place altogether if you want to say this boy’s good looks know no bounds. He is the best looking, period: él es el más lindo. 


Two extremely useful superlatives you’ll definitely need are:

el/la (los/las) mejor(es)the best

el/la (los/las) peor(es)the worst

  • El pastel que usted tiene es el mejor. The pastry that you have us better

  • ¿Cuál es la clase menos interesante de la escuela? (Which is the least interesting class in the school?)

Sometimes mejor or peor functions as a noun and not an adjective. For example, you may just want to say that something is The Best or The Worst. In this case, you need to use lo/la (the).


So in phrases that talk about things that are the best or worst in general, without referring to a particular noun, use lo/la.

  • Comer cuando uno tiene hambre es lo mejor (Eating when you’re hungry is the best).

  • Mojarse en la lluvia es lo peor (Getting wet in the rain is the worst).


Another way to add emphasis and make extreme statements about something is to add ísimo(s)/ísima(s) to the end of your adjective. So instead of saying that he’s the más lindo, you can just say: es lindísimo. Add exclamation marks and love hearts over the letter i to emphasize your point.


Don’t forget you’ll need to make your adjective agree, so if you’re talking about more than one good looking boy you can say: son lindísimos. For a group of good looking girls, you’d say: son lindísimas. 


3. Comparing adverb


Use más/menos + adverb + que to describe differences in how something is done.

For example, you might write ella escribe más lentamente que nosotros (she writes more slowly than we do).


Listening Activity No. 2: "Adjective comparisons"

In this video by BCNSunlight you will learn what adverb comparisons are.. Take notes of the information you consider important and listen carefully to identify the phrases presented above plus a few new ones. Press PLAY when you are ready.


4. Comparing nouns

Use más/menos + noun + que to compare nouns or how many “things” someone has.


a) More than

The Use the rule más + noun+ que to compare two things.

  • Tengo más lápices que María

b) Less than

The Use the rule menos + noun+ que to compare two things.

  • El libro es menos interesante que la revista. (The book is less interesting than the magazine)

  • Las camisas son menos caras que los vestidos. (The shirts are less expensive than the dresses.)

c) The same as

The Use the rule tan + noun+ como to compare two things.

  • Estas tortas son tan dulces como estos pasteles. (These cakes are as sweet as those pastries)

  • ¿Es el perro tan inteligente como el gato?. (Is the dog as intelligent as the cat?)


Listening Activity No. 3: "Adjective comparisons"

Let's see some examples with this video. Take notes of the information you consider important and listen carefully to identify the phrases presented above plus a few new ones. Press PLAY when you are ready.


4. Use de if you’re comparing numbers.

For example, note the use of de in this sentence: Juan tiene más de 5 libros (Juan has more than 5 books).

Interested in more information about our Spanish courses and free resources?

Learn Spanish online with our resources specially created for English speakers from level A1- A2. Español Latino offers live online Spanish Language and culture classes for students around the globe! We have some of the best prices available for live online foreign language classes. Experienced students can jump into existing classes, or we have absolute beginner groups starting in January!


Whatever are your reasons, circumstances or learning style, stay with us in this journey and you will discover, not only a beautiful language but the fascinating and diverse Spanish-speaking world. Schedule your FREE Trial class any time.


¡Hasta la vista!

The Español Latino Team.

10 views

Hours of Operations:

8:00 AM - 9:00 PM

Phone Service:

404.740.8900.

Please leave us a voicemail!

© 2014-2019 Español Latino, LLC. All rights reserved.

Are you following us?

Questions?

See our FAQ or contact us

  • Facebook Classic
  • https://www.pinterest.com/aprendiend