Comparisons In Spanish: Everything You Need To Know

Comparisons In Spanish

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It doesn’t matter if you are currently at a beginner, intermediate or other level, learning how to master comparisons in Spanish will make you a better all-round conversational.

Whether you want to discuss which food is tastier, which car is faster, which Netflix series is better, which language is the hardest, knowing how to express comparisons in Spanish will be useful.

Let’s see some every-day examples of this:

  • David is taller than his sister Sonia – David es más alto que su hermana Sonia
  • Colombia has the best coffee in the world – Colombia tiene el mejor café del mundo
  • The whales documentary is less interesting than the crocodiles one – El documental sobre ballenas es menos interesante que el de cocodrilos
  • Last year I had the worst vacations ever  – Tuve las peores vacaciones el año pasado

Remember, when comparisons in Spanish are used to compare traits between things, animals or people, the verb ser (to be) is more often than not required.

In this post, we’ll focus on two specific ways that we make comparisons in Spanish:

  1. Comparatives
  2. Superlatives

Let’s jump in.

1) Spanish Comparatives

The comparative form of an adjective or adverb shows that something has more of a quality than something else.

For example, below we are comparing a certain quality or trait between two people:

  • Miguel’s neighbor is prettier than his sister  –  La vecina de Miguel es más bonita que su hermana

There are several different types of Spanish comparatives that are commonly used.

1) Comparatives of Superiority

We use these to state that something has a superior trait in comparison to something else.

There are three different types of comparatives of superiority:

  • one uses an adjective
  • one uses an adverb
  • one uses a noun

Now, we’ll cover each one in detail.

a. using an adjective

Comparatives that use an adjective will always require a conjugated form of the verbs Ser or Estar (both meaning “to be’) depending on the adjective, and whether it refers to something permanent or not.  (sidenote: for a full explanation on ser v estar, read here)

Formula: verb “to be” conjugated +  más  +  adjective  +  que

Some examples::

  • Argentina is larger than Uruguay – Argentina es más grande que Uruguay
  • Today’s test was more difficult than last week’s – La prueba de hoy era más difícil que la de la semana pasada
  • Natalia’s dad is more tired than her husband – El papá de Natalia está más cansado que su esposo

b. using an adverb

These comparatives require a slightly different formula, and are used to describe the differences in how something is done.

Formula: action verb (conjugated) +  más  +  adverb +  que

Some examples:

  • The woman walks more slowly than the girl – La mujer camina más despacio que la niña.
  • The student answered her test more easily than her classmate – La estudiante finalizó el examen más fácil que su compañera
  • Dominicans speak more quickly than Venezuelans – Los dominicanos hablan más rápido que los venezolanos

b. using a noun

This one is used when we want to compare two nouns, or how many things someone or something has, and so the verb tener (to have) is generally used.

Formula: verb tener +  más  +  noun  +  que

Examples:

  • Real Madrid has won more Champions League titles than AC Milan – El Real Madrid tiene más títulos de la Liga de Campeones que el AC Milán
  • Her last house used to have more rooms than the current one – Su antigua casa solía tener más cuartos que la actual
  • My cousin has bought another bike. He has more bikes than me – Mi primo ha comprado otra moto. Él tiene más motos que yo

2) Comparatives of Inferiority

As you may have guessed, these comparatives are used when describing something that has less quality. The good news is that these comparatives follow the same structure as the superiority ones in the last section.

In fact, all you need to do is replace “más” for “menos” in each formula.

Let’s take a look

a. using an adjective

Once again, these comparatives always require a conjugated form of the verbs ser or estar, depending on the adjective.

Formula: verb “to be” +  menos  +  adjective  +  que

Examples:

  • Karen is less intelligent than Sofia – Karen es menos inteligente que Sofía
  • They were less tall than their cousins – Ellos eran menos altos que sus primos
  • My last trip to Chile was less expensive than the trip to Ecuador – Mi último viaje a Chile fue menos costoso que el viaje a Ecuador

b. using an adverb

Formula: action verb (conjugated) +  menos  +  adverb +  que

Examples:

  • Veronica arrived less late than her boyfriend to the date – Verónica llegó menos tarde que su novio a la cita
  • Raul resolves math problems less quickly than her sister – Raúl resuelve menos rápido los problemas de matemáticas que su hermana
  • She writes less slowly than the rest of her classmates – Ella escribe menos lento que el resto de sus compañeros de clase

Sidenote: Despite the fact that this structure is grammatically correct, it’s not frequently used by native speakers. Of course, people will still understand you if you use it, but it may sound a bit strange to them.

c. using a noun

Formula: verb “to have” +  menos  +  noun  +  que

Examples:

  • Javier and Paul have less toys than Marco – Javier y Paul tienen menos juguetes que Marco
  • My family and I have less problems than my neighbors – Mi familia y yo tenemos menos problemas que mis vecinos
  • By the end of the month, Ana will have less money than her sister – Al final del mes, Ana tendrá menos dinero que su hermana

It is important to point out that there are four irregular comparatives that we use when talking about superior or inferior comparatives.

We call these “irregular” as they cannot be used with “más” or “menos”.

These are:

  • Mejor que (better than),
  • Peor que (worse than),
  • Mayor que (older than)
  • Menor que (younger than) .

Let’s look at some examples:

  • My new Ipad is better than the last one – Mi nueva Ipad es mejor que la anterior
  • Karina’s new job is worse than her husband’s – El nuevo trabajo de Karina es peor que el de su esposo
  • Melissa’s sister is older than her cousin – La hermana de Melissa es mayor que su prima
  • Their mum is younger than her dad – Su madre es menor que su padre

3) Comparatives of Equality

We use comparatives of equality when something or someone is being compared and both have equal characteristics.

Just like the last two sections, we can split these up into different formulas, depending on what is being compared.

a. using an adjective or an adverb

Formula: tan +  adjective / adverb  +  como

Examples:

  • The song is as good as the music video – La canción es tan buena como el video musical
  • Snails move as slow as turtles – Los caracoles se mueven tan lento como las tortugas
  • Erika is as friendly as Claudia at work – Vanessa es tan amigable como Claudia en el trabajo

b. using a noun

Formula: tanto (-a, -os, -as) +  noun  +  como

Examples:

  • My salad has as much salt as yours – Mi ensalada tiene tanta sal como la tuya
  • Martha had as many siblings as Christian – Martha tenía tantos hermanos como Christian
  • This Christmas party has as many guests as the last year’s – Esta fiesta de navidad tiene tantos invitados como la del año pasado
  • My mum has as much patience as my father – Mi madre tiene tanta paciencia como mi padre

3) Superlatives

Spanish superlatives use an adjective or adverb to describe that someone or something has more of the specific quality than anything or anyone else of the same type.

Superlatives normally follow the below formula:

  • article (el, la, los, las) + noun + más / menos + adjective/adverb + de

This will make more sense when we see this formula in action.

Let’s look at some examples :

  • Caracas is the most populated city in Venezuela – Caracas es la ciudad más poblada de Venezuela
  • The Amazon River is the longest in the world – El río Amazonas es el más largo del mundo
  • Carlitos was the least intelligent in the class – Carlitos era el menos inteligente de la clase
  • Tomorrow’s test will be the least important of this week –  La prueba de mañana será la menos importante de esta semana

Sidenote: Just as you would do in English, we can omit the noun when using superlatives.

For Example:

  • Patricia is the tallest girl in her family – Patricia es la chica más alta de su familia
  • Patricia is the tallest in the class – Patricia es la más alta de su familia

Comparisons In Spanish: Exercises

1) Choose the correct form (Comparative or Superlative) in each sentence

  1. Sara es la más chistosa / tan chistosa / más chistosa como su hermano
  2. Esa es la montaña más alta / la más alta / tan alta del mundo
  3. Me gustaría saber cual es la playa tan bella / más bella / la más bella de Brasil
  4. ¿Los tigres son tan rápidos / menos rápidos / los más rápidos que los leones?
  5. Su hermano tiene menos deudas / tantas deudas / la deuda más como yo

2) Write the correct form of the adjective using its Superlative form

  1. Elizabeth y Luis (joven) _____ de la clase
  2. Aconcagua _____ la montaña (grande) _____ de Argentina
  3. Messi y Cristiano (mejor) ______ jugadores de la Liga Española
  4. Esa fue (malo) _____ película que he visto en mi vida
  5. Mi novia cocina (bueno) ______ pasta de todo el mundo

Comparisons In Spanish: Answers

1) Choose the correct form (Comparative or Superlative) in each sentence

  1. Sara es tan chistosa como su hermano
  2. Esa es la montaña más alta del mundo
  3. Me gustaría saber cual es la playa más bella de Brasil
  4. ¿Los tigres son menos rápidos que los leones?
  5. Su hermano tiene tantas deudas como yo

2) Write the correct form of the adjective using its Superlative form

  1. Elizabeth y Luis son los más jóvenes de la clase
  2. Aconcagua es la montaña más grande de Argentina
  3. Messi y Cristiano son los mejores jugadores de la Liga Española
  4. Esa fue la peor película que he visto en mi vida
  5. Mi novia cocina la mejor pasta de todo el mundo
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