I have a question about comparative adjectives.

I read that if an adjective has only one syllable we write its comparative form as: adjective + er, e.g. bigger and if an adjective has more than two syllables we write it as: more + adj + than. For example, more beautiful than...

But we don't do this with every adjective, for instance bored. Bored has only one syllable yet its comparative form is more bored instead of boreder. Why?

  • 1
    "Boreder" might be considered "legal" according to some guidelines, but is to be avoided because of the likely confusion with "border".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 17:05
  • Past participles as adjectives don't work with comparatives. 'I am tired' - 'I am more tired than you'
    – Mitch
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 20:48
  • @Mitch - The Pists might gag, but "I'm tireder than you" is perfectly idiomatic speech in the US.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 21:10
  • @HotLicks understood but it's very nonstandard and is a perfect example of child-learning overgeneralization. Also 'tired' isn't the best example, I just realized it's two syllables in standard English.
    – Mitch
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 21:19
  • @Mitch - google.com/…
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 21:26

1 Answer 1


We usually add +er to one-syllable adjectives and adverbs to make their comparative form. However, we use more + adjective, when:

  1. We use one-syllable part participle adjectives such as bored, creased, pleased, worn, etc. Even after ironing, the shirt looks more creased than the others. These shorts look more worn than the others because they’re the only pair without holes that i have!
  2. We use fun, real, right, wrong. AI is getting much more real every day! This idea is more right than the other.
  3. We are comparing two qualities. ‘I think that dress looks gold’ ‘what? It looks more black than gold!’ Wasn’t he brave in that fight? Really, he was more drunk than brave’ Interesting Structures - not be + so much + adj + as + adjective rather than He wasn’t so much brave as drunk. It was black rather than gold.
  • 1
    I like the answer, but it could use a reference.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Feb 17, 2021 at 11:54
  • This information is taken from my English course.
    – Larisa
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 2:17
  • Where did the course material originate? Commented Mar 3 at 13:10

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