le Comparatif et le superlatif ~ the comparative and superlative
The comparative allows you to compare things. No kidding right? Now, you can compare things using adjectives (so the word that qualifies the thing you are comparing) using adverbs (the word that qualifies the action that the thing you are comparing is doing), the noun itself or a verb (or action itself). This is sounding far more complicated than it really is.
Let's start with the easiest comparison ~ adjectives
Les adjectifs (réguliers)
In English, we frequently compare using adjectives. We'll say, "She's prettier than my sister." It's just a mater of adding the "er" to an adjective and you're done. In French we use this formula:
plus (+adjectif) que = more (+adjective) than
aussi (+adjectif) que = as (+adjective) as
moins (+adjectif) que = less (+adjective) than
Let's look at a nice little example. We'll ask Francine and Jeanne to help us.
Les adverbes (réguliers)
We also like compare using adverbs. We'll say, "She runs faster than my sister." Again, it's just a mater of adding the "er" to an adverb and you're done. In French we use this formula:
plus (+adverbe) que = more (+adverb) than
aussi (+adverbe) que = as (+adverb) as
moins (+adverbe) que = less (+adverb) than
I didn't bother coming up with a silly picture as you would do the same thing as with adjectives but I will provide some simple examples here.
Je mange pluslentement que mon frère. I eat slower than my brother.
Elles travaillent aussi fort que leurs amis. They work as hard as their friends.
Nous chantons moinsdoucement que les autres. We sing less softly than the others.
Les adjectifs et adverbes irréguliers
This time we have a little angel and a little...non-angel helping us. The two irregular adjectives you're going to need to worry about are the same ones that change in English.
bon becomes meilleur (as good becomes better)
mauvais becomes pire (as bad becomes worse)
The same is true for the comparable adverbs.
bien becomes mieux (as well becomes better)
mal becomes plus mal que (as badly becomes worse)
The dark blue sentences are examples of the irregular adjectives while the turquoise sentences are examples of the adverbs at work.
We can also compare nouns. This usually has something to do with the quantity we have of something. The formula is similar.
plus de (+nom) que = more (+noun) than
autant de (+nom) que = as many (+noun) as
moins de (+nom) que = fewer (+noun) than
This time I've asked poor Paul to help us. Literally poor Paul. He hates Jacques by the way.
Once again, we have a similar setup with verbs as we do with nouns. There are two differences to note though
The verb goes before the comparative, not in between it and the word "que".
The little preposition "de" is not a part of the equation.
(verb+) plusque = (verb+) more than
(verb+) autant que = (verb+) as much as
(verb+) moins que = (verb+) less than
Again, no silly picture as you would do the same thing as with nouns but I have some simple examples here.
Je mangeplus que mon frère. I eat more than my brother.
Elles travaillentautant que leurs amis. They work as much as their friends.
Nous chantonsmoins que les autres. We sing less than the others.
The superlative helps indicate when something is the best or the worst or the most of something. Obviously, there is no "as good as" or "as much as" with the superlative. It is the extreme of some sort of quality. It's really quite simple to construct. You simply need to make note of whether or not something is masculine or feminine or plural, add the word "plus" or "moins" and then the comparative (yes, I said comparative; the rules you learned there are the same here) you would like to use.
le / la / les plus (+comparative)
le / la / les mois (+comparative)
le / la / les (+ meilleur(e) / pire)
I found these two gentlement with their cars to help demonstrate the concept. I didn't give an example using a plural object of comparison but you could write something like: Ces voitures sont les plus célèbres de la ville. These cars are the most famous of the city. N.B. The blue sentences in the picture contain regular adjectives, the green ones show the irregular forms "best" and "worst".