Home » Common Mistakes » Writing Style » Comparatives


Because irregular comparatives such as better, worse, more, and less are quite common, children learn right away not to say worser and gooder. Any other such wisdom about comparatives slides right out of our minds as soon as we leave grade school, apparently. It is curiouser and curiouser, to quote Lewis Carroll.


  • My dog has become sedentarier since he turned fifteen.
  • My child is boreder in school this year than ever before.


When an adjective has a single syllable, add –r or –er to make it bluer, wetter, brighter, etc. When it ends in –y, change the y to –ier, as in tidier, noisier, and creamier. Depending on the word, you may need to include the word more with the original adjectives (and adverbs): more anxious, more bored, more annoyed, and [adverb] more vividly. With more than two syllables, always use more, as in more slippery.


A solecism, such as curiouser and curiouser, is a nonstandard expression or a phrase that is not grammatically correct, but which has come into common usage, usually as an entertaining in-crowd reference. Anyone who has been to Hawai’i knows that mo’ bettah is a phrase many Hawaiians use regularly. Sometimes such turns of phrase become normalized when repeatedly written or spoken by a public figure or author — just sayin’.

Leave a Comment

error: Alert: Content is protected !!