Good, Better, Best: Irregular Comparatives in Spanish

By Gail Stein

Spanish has a couple of adjectives and adverbs that are exceptions when it comes to forming the comparative and superlative.

As adjectives, bueno (good), malo (bad), grande (big), and pequeño (small) have irregular forms in the comparative and superlative. Note that grande and pequeño each have two different meanings in their comparative and superlative forms.

Irregular Adjectives in the Comparative and Superlative
Adjective Comparative Superlative
bueno (buena) (good)
buenos (buenas)
mejor (better)
mejores
el/la mejor (the best)
los/las mejores
malo (mala) (bad)
malos (malas)
peor (worse)
peores
el/la peor (the worst)
los/las peores
grande (great, big) mayor (older, greater in age or
status)

más/menos grande (larger/less
large in size
)
el/la mayor (the oldest,
greatest)
el más/menos grande (the
largest
/least large)
pequeño (pequeña) (small)
pequeños (pequeñas)
menor (minor, lesser, younger in age or
status)

más/menos
pequeño
/pequeña
(smaller/less small in size)
más/menos
pequeños
/pequeñas
el/la menor (the least, the
youngest)
el/la más/menos
pequeño/pequeña (the
smallest
/least small])
los/las más/menos
pequeños
/pequeñas

The adverbs bien (well) and mal (poorly) become mejor (better) and peor (worse), respectively, in their comparative forms and follow the verb or verb phrase they modify:

  • Tomás juega al fútbol mejor que Javier. (Thomas plays soccer better than Javier.)

  • Ella cocina peor que yo. (She cooks worse than I do.)