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Comparisons of Inequality


2014-06-14 – © Baldo Partners: Hector Cantú & Carlos Castellanos; Universal UClick

Comparisons of inequality are used when you want to say that one person or thing is bigger, better, taller, etc. than another person or thing. Thus, in English we might say:

  • Bill is taller than Tom.
  • Spanish class is better than Study Hall.
  • Alex is older than Mary.

For most adjectives, the formula for comparisons of inequality is this:

[First person or thing] + [verb—often ser] + [más | menos] + [adjective] + que + [Second person or thing]

For example:

  • Alex es más alto que Juan.
  • Esteban es menos guapo que Miguel.
  • María es más estudiosa que Felipe.

Note that the adjectives used above (alto, guapo, estudiosa) will agree in gender and number with the first person or thing compared, regardless of the gender of the second person or thing. If we were to reverse the order of the third example above, we would have to change the gender of the adjective:

  • Felipe es más estudiso que María.

Special cases

There are four special types of comparisons in which do not include the más or menos plus an adjective. They are:

  • mayor que (older than)
  • menor que (younger than)
  • mejor que (better than)
  • peor que (worse than)

Some examples of their use might be:

  • Alex es mayor que María.
  • Marina es menor que Amalia.
  • La clase de la profesora Martínez es mejor que la clase de la profesora Jones.
  • El queso de Wisconsin es peor que el queso de Vermont.

Comparison of actions without the verb ser

Sometimes you don’t want to make a direct comparison of a characteristic, but rather of an action. In English, these might look like the following:

  • Bill runs faster than Tom.
  • Southerners (seem to) talk more slowly than New Yorkers.

In Spanish, these examples would look like this:

  • Bill corre más rápido que Tom.
  • Los del sur hablan más lento que los de Nueva York.