Adjective: Comparison

The main pattern for comparison is the following:

Positive Comparative + enn (than) Superlative English

fin finere finest fine - finer - finest
kald kaldere kaldest cold - colder - coldest
varm varmere varmest warm - warmer - warmest


Vinteren er kald i Fjordvik. The winter is cold in Fjordvik.
Vinteren er kaldere i Fjordvik enn i Paris. The winter is colder in Fjordvik than in Paris.
Vinteren er kaldest i Sibir.  The winter is coldest in Siberia.  

Winter Sibir

Det er kaldt ved Bajkalsjøen


1) Adjectives ending in -ig and -som take only -st in the superlative form:

Positive Comparative + enn (than) Superlative English

billig billigere billigst  cheap
hyggelig hyggeligere hyggeligst nice
morsom morsommere morsomst amusing  

Baikal Summer

Men det er varmere og hyggeligere ved Bajkal om sommeren

2) An -e disappears in the comparative and superlative form when the adjectives end in -el, -en and -er:

Positive  Comparative + enn (than) Superlative  English

travel  travlere  travlest busy
moden  modnere  modnest  ripe, mature  
vakker vakrere  vakrest beautiful  

NB: In vakker the double -kk reduce to -k!


Naturen er det vakreste på jord…

3) Many long adjectives ending in -sk and adjectives ending in -e are compared with mer (more) and mest (most).

Adjectives from the present perfect (example: berømt) and several long words and some foreign words are also compared in the same way:

Positive Comparative + enn (than) Superlative English
praktisk mer praktisk mest praktisk practical
moderne mer moderne mest moderne modern
berømt mer berømt mest berømt famous
interessant mer interessant mest interessant interesting
absurd mer absurd mest absurd absurd


Blant detektivene er Hercule Poirot den mest berømte, n’est-ce pas?

Irregular comparative and superlative

Some adjectives, as you already know, are irregular and also present irregular comparison.

Here you find a short list of the most frequent used irregular adjectives:

Positive Comparative + enn (than) Superlative English

gammel eldre eldst old
god/bra bedre best good
ille verre verst bad
lang lengre lengst long
liten mindre minst small
stor større størst big
tung tyngre tyngst heavy
ung yngre yngst young
mange flere flest many
mye mer mest much


Cecilie er ung. Cecilie is young.
Dina er yngre enn Cecilie. Dina is younger than Cecilie.
Alex er yngst. Alex is (the) youngest.

Young boy

Alex er yngst og minst i familien

Note the following:

1) The comparative form is invariable.

The gender of the noun and the number (singular or plural) does not matter.

  • Dina er yngre enn Cecilie.

  • Alex er yngre enn Dina.

  • Alex og Dina er yngre enn Cecilie.

2) When the superlative form is placed in front of a definite noun the adjectives end in -e.

In addition, the definite articles den, det and de, which agree in gender and number with the noun, are required.

NB: Please review once again the double definite construction of Adjectives from Course 2!

den yngste jenta the youngest girl
det fineste huset the nicest house
de beste bøkene the best books


Mange synes Bergen er den fineste byen i Norge

3) When the superlative form appears as predicate after verbs like å være (to be), we can use the indefinite or the definite form of the superlative:

Alex er yngst i familien. Alex er den yngste i familien. Alex is (the) youngest in the family.

4) We use the superlative form also when we compare two items:

Hvem er eldst/den eldste, Dina eller Alex? Who is older, Dina or Alex?
Hvilken jakke er billigst/den billigste, den røde eller den svarte? Which jacket is cheaper, the red or the black one?
Hvilken by er størst/den største, Trondheim eller Oslo? Which city is bigger, Trondheim or Oslo?  

NB: In English you will prefer using the comparative.

Olav Tryggvason Statue

Trondheim er Norges eldste by. Den ble grunnlagt av Olav Tryggvason i år 997


As you know, an adverb describes a verb, whereas an adjective describes a noun or a pronoun.

We can form adverbs by using the neuter form of an adjective:

Alex puster tungt.  Alex breathes heavily.  
Alex snakker høyt.  Alex speaks loudly.

Shouting in the microphone

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Norwegian for Beginners 3

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