Comparative Adverbs

French comparative adverbs
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Adverbes comparatifs

Comparative adverbs are used to compare the relative superiority or inferiority of two or more things. This superior lesson will keep you from getting an inferiority complex. 😉

There are three types of comparisons:

1) Superiority indicates that something is "___er" (bigger, faster, stronger) or "more ___" (more purple, more tired, more important). The French equivalent is plus ___.

2) Inferiority indicates that something is "less ___" (less hungry, less exciting, less complete). The French equivalent is moins ___.

3) Equality indicates that two or more things are "as ___" (as happy, as thirsty, as interesting). The French equivalents are aussi ___ and autant ___.

The grammar involved in using comparative adverbs is slightly different depending on whether you’re comparing adjectives, adverbs, nouns, or verbs.

Comparing Adjectives

The simplest comparison is with adjectives: just put plus, moins, or aussi in front of the adjective. The comparative itself is invariable, but, as always, the adjective has to agree with its noun in gender and number.

a) Compare two nouns with one adjective

Cet arbre est plus grand.   This tree is taller.
Ta voiture est moins bruyante.   Your car is less noisy.
Ils sont aussi contents.   They’re just as happy.

In the above examples, the comparison is implied – there’s some antecedent that these comparatives are referring back to. When there is no antecedent, you need que after the adjective, followed by the other noun or pronoun you’re comparing to.

Par exemple…

Cet arbre est plus grand que l’autre.   This tree is taller than the other one.
Ta voiture est moins bruyante que la mienne.   Your car is less noisy than mine.
Ils sont aussi contents que moi.   They’re as happy as I am.

 Note that in the final example, the stressed pronoun is required in French, whereas the subject pronoun is used in English.

b) Compare two adjectives in relation to one noun

Tu es aussi intelligente que belle.   You’re as smart as (you are) beautiful.
Je suis plus curieux que courageux.   I’m more curious than (I am) brave.

c) Compare an adjective over time

Je suis moins sportif qu’avant.   I’m less athletic than before.
Il est plus obsédé que jamais.   He’s more obsessed than ever.

 The adjectives bon and mauvais have special comparative forms: meilleur and pire. More about this in a future lesson.

Comparing Adverbs

Comparing adverbs is much the same, but you don’t have to worry about agreement, since adverbs are invariable. Once again, there are three types of comparisons.

a) Compare two nouns with one adverb

Il parle plus lentement que moi.   He speaks more slowly than I (do).
Elle pleure moins souvent que sa sœur.   She cries less often than her sister.
Je travaille aussi dur que toi.   I work as hard as you do.

b) Compare two adverbs in relation to one noun

Tu écris plus vite que correctement.   You write more quickly than (you do) correctly.
Il mange aussi sainement qu’abondamment.   He eats as healthily as (he does) copiously.

c) Compare an adverb over time

Je cours plus lentement qu’hier.   I’m running more slowly than (I was) yesterday.
Elle étudie moins souvent qu’avant.   She studies less often than before.

 The adverb bien has a special comparative form: mieux.

Comparing Nouns

When comparing the quantity of nouns, the comparative adverbs are somewhat different:

  • Superiority = plus de
  • Inferiority = moins de
  • Equality = autant de

a) Compare a noun between two subjects

J’ai plus d’idées que toi.   I have more ideas than you.
Tu fais moins d’erreurs que moi.   You make fewer errors than I (do).
Elle a écrit autant de livres que son père.   She’s written as many books as her father.

b) Compare two (or more) nouns for one subject/verb

Il y a moins de pommes que d’oranges.   There are fewer apples than oranges.
J’ai plus d’idées que de temps ou d’énergie.   I have more ideas than time or energy.

 Note that de must be repeated in front of each noun being compared.

c) Compare a noun over time

Il y a moins de travail que la semaine dernière.   There’s less work than (there was) last week.
Je bois autant d’eau que jamais.   I drink as much water as ever.

Comparing Verbs

When comparing verbs, the comparative adverbs are slightly different again:

  • Superiority = plus que
  • Inferiority = moins que
  • Equality = autant que

a) Compare a verb between two subjects

Je travaille plus que ma sœur.   I work more than my sister (does).
Il étudie moins que toi.   He studies less than you.
Nous mangeons autant que nos enfants.   We eat as much as our children.

b) Compare two verbs

Je lis plus que je ne regarde la télé.   I read more than I watch TV.
Anne chante autant qu’elle parle.   Anne sings as much as she speaks.


  • The subject must be repeated in front of the second verb.
  • Ne explétif is required with plus and moins.

c) Compare a verb over time

Je travaille plus maintenant.   I work more now.
Elle étudie moins qu’avant.   She studies less than before.

En résumé

    Superiority Inferiority Equality
Adjectives   plus (… que) moins (… que) aussi (… que)
Adverbs   plus (… que) moins (… que) aussi (… que)
Nouns   plus de moins de autant de
Verbs   plus que moins que autant que

 You can add emphasis to a comparison with encore.

Par exemple…

Cet arbre est encore plus grand.   This tree is even taller.
Elle étudie encore moins souvent qu’avant.   She studies even less often than before.

 Related lessons

French lesson plans French lesson plans

Learn Spanish En español

Learn Italian In italiano

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French comparatives

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