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Special Comparative and Superlative Forms

Irregular French comparatives and superlatives

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You usually express the superior comparative "___er" with plus and the superlative "___est" with le plus, but there are a few French words with special comparative and superlative forms.


Bon in comparatives and superlatives
Just like its English equivalent "good," the French adjective bon is irregular in the comparative and superlative. You can't say "gooder" or "more good" in English, and you can't say "plus bon" in French. The French comparative form of bon is meilleur (better):

meilleur (masculine singular)
meilleure (feminine singular)
meilleurs (masculine plural)
meilleures (feminine plural)

   Mes idées sont meilleures que tes idées.
   My ideas are better than your ideas.

The same rule applies to the superlative. Just as you can't say "the goodest" in English, you can't say "le plus bon" in French - the French superlative for bon is le meilleur (the best):

le meilleur (masculine singular)
la meilleure (feminine singular)
les meilleurs (masculine plural)
les meilleures (feminine plural)

   Son idée est la meilleure.
   His idea is the best.

Note: Bon is only irregular in the superior comparative and superlative. In the inferior, it follows the normal rules:

   Leurs idées sont moins bonnes.
   Their ideas are less good / aren't as good.


Bien in comparatives and superlatives
The French adverb bien (well) also has special comparative and superlative forms. The comparative is mieux (better):

   Elle explique mieux ses idées.
   She explains her ideas better.

In the superlative, bien becomes le mieux (the best):

   Il comprend nos idées le mieux.
   He understands our ideas the best. (He's the best at understanding our ideas.)

Bien is only irregular in the superior comparative and superlative. In the inferior, it follows the normal rules:

   Tu expliques moins bien tes idées.
   You don't explain your ideas as well.


Note: meilleur and mieux are both equivalent to "better" in English, and le meilleur and le mieux both mean "the best." I have a lesson that can help you decide between them: meilleur vs mieux.


Mauvais in comparatives and superlatives
The French adjective mauvais (bad) has both regular and irregular forms for the comparative:

plus mauvais (masculine)
plus mauvaise (feminine singular)
plus mauvaises (feminine plural)
   or
pire (singular)
pires (plural)

   Leurs idées sont pires / plus mauvaises.
   Their ideas are worse.

And the superlative

le plus mauvais (masculine singular)
la plus mauvaise (feminine singular)
les plus mauvais (masculine plural)
les plus mauvaises (feminine plural)
   or
le pire (masculine singular)
la pire (feminine singular)
les pires (plural)

   Nos idées sont les pires / les plus mauvaises.
   Our ideas are the worst.
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