07 November 2019

How to make comparisons in Spanish

Once you’ve mastered describing things in Spanish, what is the next step? Comparing the things you can describe! Luckily, making comparisons in Spanish is almost as easy and straightforward as making them in English. Read on to find out how to do it.

Hands holding apples
How to make comparisons in Spanish

Comparisons

A comparison is simply when we have 2 things, people or qualities that we are comparing. If you think about this in English, they would be phrases like “Jamie is faster than Luke” or “Adriana writes more slowly than Federico”.

Comparisons of inequality

Think of comparisons of inequality as words like “faster”, “slower”, “less intelligent”. We can use the following structure to make comparisons of inequality:

más / menos + adjective / adverb / noun + que

Here are some examples in Spanish:

Luke es más grande que su hermano. (Luke is* taller than* his brother.) (adjective = tall)

Mi amiga Helena habla más alto que yo. (My friend Helena speaks more loudly than me.) (adverb = loudly, we’re comparing how loudly they speak)

Pablo y Rodrigo tienen más amigos que Ricardo. (Pablo and Rodrigo have more friends than Ricardo.) (noun = friends, we’re comparing how many friends they have).

Lucía es menos alegre que Carmen. (Lucía is* less happy than* Carmen.) (adjective = happy)

⚠️ When a comparative is followed by a number (we’re comparing number amounts), we use:

más / menos + DE

BUT, when the sentence is in negative form, we use the same structure as earlier:

no + más / menos + QUE

Some examples:

Elsa tiene más de 20 primos. (Elsa has more than 20 cousins.)
Elsa no tiene más que 20 primos. (Elsa has no more than 20 cousins.)

Hay menos de 40 personas en esta fiesta. (There are less than 40 people at this party.)
No hay menos que 40 personas en esta fiesta. (There are no less than 40 people at this party.)

Irregular Comparative Adjectives and Adverbs

There are a few irregular forms (just like in English – good, better, the best) in Spanish. When we’re talking about quality of something:

bueno / bien = mejor

Este ordenador es mejor que mi viejo. (This computer is better than my old one.)

malo / mal = peor

Lupita canta peor que su hermana. (Lupita sings worse than her sister.)

These comparisons are also irregular only when talking about age (not about size):

más viejo / más grande = mayor

Mi madre es* mayor que* mi padre. (My mother is older than my father.)

más joven / más pequeño = menor

Mis primos son menores que yo. (My cousins are younger than me.)

If we’re comparing the size, we still use más / menos + grande / pequeño:
Esta casa es más grande que la de mi abuela. (This house is bigger than my grandmother’s.)

Comparisons of equality

We use structures like this when the things we’re comparing are the same (think as + … + as). We use the following three structures when we’re comparing adjectives or adverbs:

1. tan + adjective / adverb + como

Sara es* tan bonita como* Rebeca. (Sara is as pretty as Rebeca.)
El perro es* tan bajo como* el zapato. (The dog is as short as the shoe.)

2. igual de + adjective / adverb + que

Esta paella es* igual de bueno que* la de mi mamá. (This paella is as good as my mom’s.)
Ese coche es igual de lento como un caracol. (That car is as slow as a snail.)

3. lo mismo que …

El billete de avión cuesta lo mismo que una cena para dos. (The plane ticket costs* the same as* a dinner for two.)

To compare nouns, the structure depends on the nouns we are comparing:

tanto … como

tanto + singular masculine noun + como

tanta + singular feminine noun + como

tantos + plural masculine noun + como

tantas + plural feminine noun + como

Examples:

Carlos habla* tantos idiomas como* Betti. (Carlos speaks as many languages as Betti.)

Ian tiene tantas copas como Freya. (Ian has as many glasses as Freya.)

Mis padres beben* tanta leche como* yo. (My parents drink as much milk as me.)

Superlative Comparisons

When you make superlative comparisons, it is like saying “the most” or “the best”. The structure is quite easy and very similar to that of English (we must add THE to the beginning of the comparison).

el / la / los / las + más + adjective + de

Irina es la más bonita de la fiesta. (Irina is the prettiest of the party.)

Diego es el chico más inteligente de nuestra clase. (Diego is the smartest boy in our class.)

Lorena es la más razonable del grupo. (Lorena is the most reasonable of the group.)

Las oraciones comparativas son las más fáciles de aprender. (Comparative sentences are the easiest to learn.)

We hope these examples and explanations have helped you better understand how to compare qualities, objects and people, in Spanish. Why not try to make your own example? Write a comparative sentence in the comments below!

Interested in learning more in a classroom setting? Check out our Spanish classes in Barcelona.