Making Basic Comparisons in Spanish Using MÁS QUE

¡Hola! Welcome to this short grammar lesson. Today, we will learn how to make basic comparisons in Spanish using common adjectives. As usual, we will be using the grammar structure in several examples so that you can see how native speakers would use it. Besides, you will have the chance to practice with interactive quizzes. Let’s start…

How to make Comparisons in Spanish
Las comparaciones en español

The basic rules for the comparative in Spanish

We will begin by talking about adjectives in Spanish. “Los adjetivos” are words that are used to describe physical appearance, personality, places and so on. Adjectives are very commonly used along with the verb “SER” in its forms “ES” and “SON”, e.g. “Ella es alta” (She is tall) or “La ciudad es grande” (The city is big). Being able to describe things is the first step to make comparisons in Spanish.

Most of the time, we will normally use the words MÁS (more) and MENOS (less) before adjectives to compare things in Spanish, e.g. “Más alto” and “Menos importante“. Besides, we will add the equivalent for “THAN” after the adjectives, that is “QUE”, e.g. “Más alto que” (taller than).  It is important to memorize the irregular form of a few comparatives including the comparative form for the adjectives “bueno”, “malo” and others. Check the chart below and notice how some adjectives have irregular comparatives in Spanish.

Original adjectivesComparatives in Spanish
AltoMás alto que / Menos alto que
BonitaMás bonita que / Menos bonita que
InteresanteMás interesante que / Menos interesante que
BuenoMejor que
MaloPeor que
Pequeño (for age)Menor que
GrandeMayor que

The sentence structure behind comparisons in Spanish

Now, we will go into more details about the structure of sentences related to comparisons in Spanish. Affirmative comparisons will follow this structure:

First object+ Verb + Más/Menos + Adjetivo / Adverbio + Que + Second Object.
e.g. El leopardo es más rápido que el conejo.

As you can see, the sentence structure is very similar in both English and Spanish. If you want to make a negative sentence, then just place the word “NO” behind the main verb in the sentences like this: “Él no es más alto que ella”. Remember that when writing sentences in Spanish, nouns and adjectives must agree in gender and plural form with the noun they modify, e.g. “Él es más inteligente que ella” (singular form) and “Ellas son más inteligentes que ellos” (plural form). Read and listen to the following examples of comparisons in Spanish. Pay attention to the way you should adjust your sentences when using irregular comparatives.

Alto (tamaño) – Marcos es más alto que Alan.
Tall (size) – Mark is taller than Alan.
Alto (calidad/posición) – De estos dos materiales, ¿Cuál es de superior calidad?
High (quality / position) – From these two materials, which one is of superior quality?
Bajo – Sebastián es más bajo que Alejandro.
Short – Sebastian is shorter than Alejandro.
Bajo (calidad/posición) – ¿Qué cuartos hay en la parte inferior de la casa?
Low (quality / position) – What rooms are in the lower part of the house?
Grande (edad) – Carlos tiene 2 años y Ramiro tiene 5. Ramiro es mayor que Carlos.
Big (age) – Carlos is 2 years old and Ramiro is 5. Ramiro is older than Carlos.
Pequeño (edad) – ¿Quién es el menor? – Carlos es menor que Ramiro.
Small (age) – Who is the youngest? – Carlos is younger than Ramiro.
Grande (tamaño) – Las ballenas azules son más grandes que los elefantes.
Large (size) – Blue whales are larger than elephants.
Pequeño (tamaño) – Un teléfono móvil es más pequeño que una computadora.
Small (size) – A mobile phone is smaller than a computer.
Bonito – ¿Cuál es el auto más bonito? – Mi auto es más bonito que el tuyo.
Beautiful- What is the most beautiful car? – My car is more beautiful than yours.
Interesante – Este libro es más interesante que ese otro.
Interesting – This book is more interesting than the other one.
Importante – Es más importante tener buena salud que tener dinero.
Important – It is more important to be in good health than having money.
Poblado – Estados Unidos es menos poblado que China.
Populated – The United States is less populated than China.
Inteligente – Donald es menos inteligente que tú.
Intelligent – Donald is less intelligent than you.
Bueno – Las canciones de Luis son mejores que las canciones de Pablo.
Good – Luis’s songs are better than Pablo’s songs.
Malo – Los dibujos de Ana son peores que los dibujos de Fernando.
Malo – Ana’s drawings are worse than Fernando’s drawings.

Making comparisons in Spanish with other verbs

As shown in the examples, adjectives play a major role when making comparisons in Spanish. Most of the examples above made use of the verb SER, but we can definitely use other verbs just like in these two sentences: “Irania corre más rápido que Eva” or “José Luis dibuja mejor que Felipe”. Finally, when using numbers to compare quantities, you need to add the preposition “de” before the number, just like this: “La casa tiene más de diez cuartos” and “He leído este libro más de cien veces”. Notice that we did not add QUE to the last two examples as sometimes it is posible to omit the second part of the comparison if you have provided some context before, e.g. “Este libro es más interesante”.

Grammar quiz: Basic Comparisons in Spanish

It’s time to practice the structure for making comparisons in Spanish. Pay attention to each of the exercises in the quiz and apply the rules we have discussed to solve the quiz. Buena suerte.

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