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French Comparative

The comparative is a grammatical construction that compares items in one of three ways:

  1. more ... than
  2. less ... than
  3. as ... as

French comparatives vary depending on whether you're comparing adverbs, adjectives, verbs, or nouns.

1) Comparative of adverbs

English French
more <adverb> than <adverb>-er than plus <adverbe> que
less <adverb> than moins <adverbe> que
as <adverb> as aussi <adverbe> que

For example

Il parle plus vite que moi. - He speaks more quickly than I do.

Sandra s'habille moins élégamment que lui. - Sandra dresses less elegantly than he does.

Je chante aussi bien que ma tante. - I sing as well as my aunt.

Note: After a comparative, French requires the stress pronoun (rather than a subject pronoun).

2) Comparative of adjectives

English French

more <adjective> than
<adjective>-er than

plus <adjectif> que
less <adjective> than moins <adjectif> que
as <adjective> as aussi <adjectif> que

For example

Mon frère est plus grand que moi. - My brother is taller than I am.

Le chat a des moustaches moins courtes que le lapin. - The cat has less short whiskers than the rabbit.

Elle semble aussi inquiète que toi. - She seems as worried as you are.

Note: The adjective has to agree in gender and number with the noun it refers to.

3) Comparative of verbs

English French

<verb> more than

<verbe> plus que
<verb> less than <verbe> moins que
<verb> as much as <verbe> autant que

For example

Je pleure plus que ma copine. - I cry more than my girlfriend.

Tu parles moins que je ne le pensais. - You speak less than I thought.

Marie danse autant que Sarah. - Marie dances as much as Sarah.

4) Comparative of nouns

English French

more <thing/s> than

plus de <chose/s> que
less <thing/s> than moins de <chose/s> que
as much/many <thing/s> as autant de <chose/s> que

For example

J'ai plus de jouets que toi. - I have more toys than you.

Thomas a moins de courage qu'Henri. - Thomas has less courage than Henri.

Vos amis reçoivent autant de cadeaux que vous. - Your friends are getting as many presents as you.

Irregular comparatives

Some adjectives and adverbs have irregular comparative forms to express "more than," though they remain regular when expressing "less than" or "as ... as."

basic form comparative form English
bien mieux que well -> better than
bon/ne meilleur/e que good -> better than
mauvais/e pire que
bad -> worse than

Remember that bon and meilleur are adjectives, and so need to agree with the nouns they modify.

Note that in English, we say "better than" for both the adverb "well" and the adjective "good," whereas French has two distinct forms:

  1. bien --> mieux que
  2. bon --> meilleur/e que

To express "worse than" in French, you can use either the regular plus mauvais/e que or the irregular pire que.

For example

Aurélie est meilleure en maths que Julien. - Aurélie is better at maths than Julien.

Il chante mieux que moi. - He sings better than me.

Elle chante moins bien que moi. - She sings less well than I do.

Lucie est aussi bonne en maths que Julien. - Lucie is as good at maths as Julien.

Ce restaurant est plus mauvais que / pire que l'autre. - This restaurant is worse than the other.

Related lesson: Superlatives

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