Supérieur à, inférieur à, intérieur à, extérieur à (irregular comparatives)

Look at this comparison:

L'huile d'olive est supérieure à l'huile de maïs.
Olive oil is superior to corn oil.

Ce produit est inférieur au nôtre.
This product is inferior to ours.

Mes notes sont inférieures aux notes de Martin.
My grades are inferior to Martin's grades.

La glace à la vanille est supérieure à la glace au chocolat.
Vanilla ice cream is superior to chocolate ice cream.

Note that some adjectives are naturally comparative and have no comparative or superlative form, and they use à rather than que:

supérieur/e à (superior to)

inférieur/e à (inferior to)

These less used adjectives also lack superlatives and comparative forms:

intérieur à (interior to)

extérieur à (exterior to)


Note that the preposition à will become au or aux when followed by articles le or les.
See À + le = au, à + les = aux, de + le = du, de + les = des (contractions of articles) 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

L'huile d'olive est supérieure à l'huile de maïs.
Olive oil is superior to corn oil.


Ce produit est inférieur au nôtre.
This product is inferior to ours.


La glace à la vanille est supérieure à la glace au chocolat.
Vanilla ice cream is superior to chocolate ice cream.


Mes notes sont inférieures aux notes de Martin.
My grades are inferior to Martin's grades.


Q&A Forum 8 questions, 12 answers

MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

The kwiz questions I encountered...

had a variation after the comparative that was not exampled in the lesson.

...celui de son frère.

...celle de ce restaurant.

Could the celui de, celle de, be omitted and express the exact same ideas?

Will the inclusion of these demonstrative pronouns and adjectives be part of a future lesson?

Asked 9 months ago
MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

To my surprise...the next lesson offered to me is Demonstrative pronouns!

Still laughing!

The kwiz questions I encountered...

had a variation after the comparative that was not exampled in the lesson.

...celui de son frère.

...celle de ce restaurant.

Could the celui de, celle de, be omitted and express the exact same ideas?

Will the inclusion of these demonstrative pronouns and adjectives be part of a future lesson?

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FionaB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I do not understand how one uses a, and the other au in this lesson

Asked 11 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

La glace à vanille est supérieure à la glace au chocolat.
Ce produit est inférieur au nôtre.

The difference is simply that "a + le" gets contracted to "au". As produit is a male noun, it would be "à le nôtre" which becomes "au nôtre".

I do not understand how one uses a, and the other au in this lesson

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FionaB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Ce produit est inférieur au nôtre.

Asked 11 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
answered in next post.
FionaB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Yes Chris thank you. I saw it after I had posted the question. Thank you.

Ce produit est inférieur au nôtre.

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FionaB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

L'huile d'olive est supérieure à l'huile de maïs.

Asked 11 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Already answered.

L'huile d'olive est supérieure à l'huile de maïs.

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StuartB1Kwiziq community member

What is a ‘naturally comparative’ adjective?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Stuart, 

I think what is meant is that 'supérieur' and 'inférieur' are comparative in themselves, so you would not say 'plus supérieur/inférieur à' , as with normal comparisons highlighted by Chris .

The important bit is that you use 'à' afterwards and not 'que'.

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The usual way you form a comparative is with "plus" or "moins".

Il est plus âgé qu'elle. -- He is older than her.
Marie parle le français moins couramment que moi. -- Marie speaks French less fluently than me.

Here is a link to the corresponding lesson: Making comparisons with adjectives: plus... que, aussi... que, moins... que

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

What is a ‘naturally comparative’ adjective?

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MeghnaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Modele - Masc or Fem?

Hi One of the questions was le novueau modele est... Isn't modele feminine?
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Meghna, No, modèle is masculine.

Modele - Masc or Fem?

Hi One of the questions was le novueau modele est... Isn't modele feminine?

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ReemA1Kwiziq community member

In example 2 why you say Ce produit est inférieur au nôtre. And did not say inférieur à notre,,

Asked 2 years ago
SarC1Kwiziq community memberCorrect answer
"Notre" without the accent circonflexe means "our".
"Le nôtre" with the obligatory "le/la/les" and the accent circonflexe means "ours". "Le" is used because "produit" is masculine.
The sentence is saying "This product is inferior to ours". We say "Ce produit est inférieur au nôtre" because "à + le" must combine to make "au".

In example 2 why you say Ce produit est inférieur au nôtre. And did not say inférieur à notre,,

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DC1Kwiziq community member

Could you give some examples of how to use "intérieur(e) à" and "extérieur(e) à"?

Asked 2 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

No, it should be 'à l'extérieur' and 'à l'intérieur.'

RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Dans les années 1900, les toilettes étaient en extérieur à la maison, mais aujourd'hui, elles sont en l'intérieur à la maison More correctly however: Dans les années 1900, les toilettes étaient à l’extérieur de la maison, mais aujourd'hui, ils sont à l’intérieur. le tapis est intérieur à la maison pendant la pelouse est extérieur (à la maison)
AlmutC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
In the first sentence you use "en extérieur à" without article but "en l'intérieur à" WITH article. Are both correct?

Could you give some examples of how to use "intérieur(e) à" and "extérieur(e) à"?

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