Lesson 8: Comparatives and superlatives

Welcome to the eighth lesson in our beginner’s course. Now that we have introduced ourselves to Russian adjectives and how they decline with nouns, we’re going to look at the comparative and superlative adjectival forms. Comparatives correspond to the concept of “more” in English, while superlatives correspond to the concept of “most.” This lesson will focus on getting you used to the grammar concepts behind these forms as well as introducing you to new vocabulary.

Go here for our main page on comparatives and superlatives for reference.

Comparatives

Comparative adjectives are used to compare one thing to another. In Russian there are three ways to form the comparative.

Method 1: Comparative compound form

Just like in English, you can you use the words “more” or “less” to describe a comparative in Russian.

You must use this comparative compound form when the sentence is such that the adjectives is declined.

Use the following words along with normal adjective forms:

  • более = more
  • менее = less
  • чем = than

For example:

  • Я хочу читать более интересную книгу. = I want to read a more interesting book.
  • Музыка более интересная, чем кино. = Music is more interesting than cinema.
  • Саша более умная женщина, чем Настя. = Sasha is more smart woman than Nastya.
  • Война и мир? Нет, я говорю о более интересной книге. = War and Peace? No, I’m talking about a more interesting book.

Method 2: Comparative adjectival form

Using the comparative adjectival form is the most common way to construct comparatives in Russian. To create the comparative form, drop the gender ending from the normal adjective form and add “ее” or “е” to the stem.

Please note, the comparative adjective form is indeclinable and can also be used as a comparative adverb.

Here’s how to build the comparative adjectival form:

(i) If the adjective stem ends in н, л, р, п, б, м, в – you add “ее:”

  • быстрый = быстрее
  • красивый = красивее
  • трудный = труднее

(ii) If the adjective stem ends in г, к, х, or д, т, ст, – the stem consonant will undergo an alternation and you add just one “е:”

For stems ending in -г, -к, -х, the final consonant is replaced by -ж, -ч, -ш, respectively.

  • дорогой = дороже
  • громкий = громче
  • тихий = тише
  • лёгкий = легче
  • Stems ending in ст are replaced by -щ.
  • простой = проще
  • толстый = толще

(iii) Irregular comparative adjectives:

  • близкий = ближе
  • большой = больше
  • высокий = выше
  • глубокий = глубже
  • далёкий = дальше
  • дешёвый = дешевле
  • долгий = дольше
  • короткий = короче
  • лёгкий = легче
  • молодой = моложе (or младше)
  • поздний = позже (or позднее)
  • ранний = раньше
  • редкий = реже
  • сладкий = слаще
  • старый = старше (or старее)
  • широкий = шире
  • хороший = лучше
  • плохой = хуже
  • маленький = меньше

For example:

  • Вячеслав умнее, чем Ипполит. = Vyacheslav is smarter than Hippolit.
  • К сожалению, экзамен оказался сложнее, чем я ожидал. = Unfortunately, the exam was more difficult than I anticipated.
  • Моя книга более интересная, чем твоя книга. = My book is more interesting than your book.
  • Я хочу смотреть более современный фильм. = I want to watch a more modern movie.

Method 3: Comparatives without чем

The method is just the same as the first two, except that you omit the word “чем” and use the genitive case for the second noun that you’re comparing.

For example:

  • Санкт-Петербург красивее Венеции. = St. Petersburg is more beautiful than Venice.
  • Юля умнее Наташи. = Julia is smarter than Natasha.

Superlatives

Superlative adjectives are used to say that something is the most or best. In Russian there are three ways to form the superlative.

Method 1: Compound superlative

The compound superlative is the easiest superlative form to build. All you have to do is add the words “most” or “least” to the normal adjective form.

  • самый = most
  • наиблее = most
  • наимнее = least

For example:

  • Он самый храбрый солдат в армии. = He is the bravest soldier in the army.
  • Она самый талантливый музыкант оркестра. = She is the most talented musician in the orchestra.

Method 2: Simple superlative

The simple superlative form involves modifying the normal adjectival form. It is less common than the compound superlative form, and you’ll generally see it used in official language or when expressing an opinion in colloquial speach.

To form the simple superlative, for most adjectives add the suffix “ейш” to the stem.

  • умный → умнейший
  • новый → новейший

Adjectives ending in the consonants г, к, and x change to the consonants, ж, ч, and ш, respectively, and the suffix “айш” is added instead.

  • строгий → строжайший
  • высокий → высочайший
  • тихий → тишайший

Irregular simple superlatives

  • плохой → худший
  • маленький → меньший
  • короткий → кратчайший
  • хороший → лучший
  • тяжкий → тягчайший
  • дорогой → дражайший

Method 3: Superlatives with всех

Another way to form the superlative is by adding всех / всего (of all, of anything) to the comparative adjective form: 

  • Он старше всех. = He is the oldest of all.
  • Это дороже всего. = This is more valuable than anything else.

Example sentences

Мой брат старше меня. = My brother is older than me.

Моя сестра старше моего брата. = My sister is older than my brother.

Их дом лучше нашего. = Their house is nicer than our house.

«Анна Каренина» – книга более интересная, чем «Доктор Живаго». = Anna Karenina is a more interesting book than Doctor Zhivago.

Москва – лучший город на земле. = Moscow is the best city on earth.

Мы лучшие друзья с детства. = We have been best friends since childhood.

Эти мужчины самые вежливые из людей. = Those men are the most polite of people.

Этот мальчик лучше всех играет в шахматы. = This boy plays chess the best of all.

We recommend

We recommend browsing rusandsov.com for a great selection of Russian and Soviet themed clothing and prints. Shipping is worldwide and the product quality is excellent! Also, you get 10% with code “russianenthusiast” 🙂

Two Languages at the Same Time Men's T-shirt_rusandsov Lengiz Books on All Branches of Knowledge Mug_rusandsov.com

About Russian Enthusiast

Russian Enthusiast is created and managed by Richard Wess.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This