Do you know the meaning of the word “syllable?”
A “syllable” is a part of a word that has only one vowel sound.
cool = 1 syllable
elf = 1 syllable
grammar = 2 syllables
English = 2 syllables
language = 2 syllables
Now it’s your turn. How many syllables do you think there are in this word:
Is it hard?
When you use your dictionary and check the pronunciation guide for one word, you can see something like this:
Can you see the hyphens (-)?
They can help us with our pronunciation because they divide the word into how many syllables the word has in real, spoken English.
In our example above, the word “different” has two hyphens. This means the word has three syllables.
The three syllables of the word “different” are: dif, fer, and ent.
Now, please guess how many syllables the following words have:
Here are the answers:
book = 1 syllable
business = 2 syllables
computer = 3 syllables
technology = 4 syllables
refrigerator = 5 syllables
Not so hard, right?
Knowing how many syllables a word has is important not only in pronunciation but also in making Comparative forms.
What are Comparative forms?
The grammar term Comparative comes from the word “compare.” We consider two things, people, etc. side by side and talk about them in relation to each other.
We use Adjectives (and Adverbs) to make Comparative forms.
Here are examples of the Comparative:
If you noticed, there are two ways to make the Comparative form, by (1) adding “+er” at the end of the Adjective and by (2) adding “more+” at the beginning.
How can we know which one to use?
There is a general rule about how to make Comparatives, but it isn’t 100% absolute. This means it 's usually right but it's sometimes wrong.
Anyway, here it is:
- If the Adjective has only 1 syllable ===> add “er” at the end
cute ==> cuter
smart ==> smarter
tall ==> taller
fast ==> faster
- If the Adjective has 2 syllables or more ==> add “more” at the beginning:
modern ==> more modern
famous ==> more famous
dangerous ==> more dangerous
delicious ==> more delicious
- Some Adjectives can go two ways:
clever ==> cleverer – or – more clever
quiet ==> quieter – or – more quiet
shallow ==> shallower – or – more shallow
simple ==> simpler – or – more simple
- Some irregular Adjectives:
bad ==> worse
far ==> farther
little ==> less
More Better: Right or Wrong?
By now, you have probably realized that using –er or more+ depends on whether the Adjective is long or short. We have some rules about it, but there are also exceptions, so you should practice each individual word.
But there is one thing for sure: you can use either –er or more+, but you can’t use both of them at the same time.
So, “more better” is wrong.
Hope you learned something!