Comparing: funner & faster or more fun & more fast? Is playing video games funner or more fun than studying grammar? Not sure when to use ‘___er’ or ‘more ____ than’ when comparing things? In this lesson we will look at syllables as a way to choose the faster car, the more beautiful painting, or the more clever phrase. Take the quiz on this lesson here:


Hi, again. I’m Adam. Welcome to Today’s lesson is very common I think – a very popular question. I get asked this all the time by students who are learning English: when to use “-er”, when to use “more” when we are comparing things, for example with adjectives. When do I say “better”, for example, or “happier” or “more expensive”? How do you know which one to use? Okay? So it’s very, very simple, okay? We’re going to look at syllables. To use “-er”, we use — sorry. We use “-er” with words that have one or two syllables. We use “more” with words that have two or more syllables.

Now, before I explain that, what are syllables? “Syllables” are vowel sounds in a word, okay? They’re not the number of vowels; they’re the number of vowel sounds. But first, what is a “vowel”? Just in case you’re not familiar: A, E, I, O, U; these are the vowels in English. Consonants are B, C, D, F, G, and so on. Keep in mind “Y” is a consonant even though it sounds often like a vowel.

Okay, so back to syllables. So these are the vowel sounds. So for example, the word “cat”. How many vowel sounds are in the word “cat”? One: “ah” — “cat”. Keep in mind — here’s another one-syllable word: “leak”. Two vowels, one vowel sound, “leak”, “eeee”, okay? Can you think of a two-syllable word? How do you feel right now? I bet you feel “happy”. I’m sure you feel happy because you’re watching, right? “Happy”. The two vowel sounds: “ha”, “py” — sorry. My mistake. “Hap”, “py”, “ah”, “eeee”, okay? How about a three-vowel sound word? How about three syllables? “Beautiful”. Sorry. I’m not having the best day spelling today. “Beau”, “ti”, “ful”. Three syllables. How about four? “Ex”, “cep”, “tio”, “nal” — “exceptional”. Great. Very good. Okay. One more — five. Very common word: “International”. Can you divide them up into the syllables? Try it. “In”, “ter”, “na”, “tio”, “nal” — “international”, five syllables.

So now, here we go back. We see one or two syllables or two or more syllables. So now, you’re thinking, “Okay, well if I have a two-syllable word, I still don’t know which one to use, right?” Well, here is the answer. One or two syllables: If the word ends in “Y” — I’ll put it here. Sorry about the mess. If the word ends in “Y”, use “-er”. So “happy” — if you want to compare two things; who’s happier? Me or my friend? Then you drop the “Y”; then you put “ier”. “Happier”. Okay? If the word — the two-syllable word — ends in a consonant, okay, then you use “more”. Okay? So “gentle” is technically a two-syllable word, but it ends in a vowel, so “gentler”. I’ll think of an example of a consonant-ending word.

Now, there are, of course, exceptions. “Good” does not take “-er” or “more”. “Good” becomes “better”. “Bad” becomes “worse”. “Far” becomes “farther”. I’ll write this one down. “Far” becomes “farther”, so you have the extra addition here. “Much” becomes “more”. “Little” becomes “less”, okay? Now — oh, I put it twice. Sorry. Now, “fun” is a one-syllable word, but you will never hear anybody say “funner”. Why? Because it sounds like “funnier”. So this is an exception. We usually say “more fun”. Now here’s an example of a two-syllable word that ends in a consonant, so you think “cleverer”. Now, some people will say “cleverer”, but because of the “r-r” ending, it’s a little bit hard to say, so many people will say “more clever”. “He is more clever than she is”, okay? For example. I still can’t think of a word that ends in a consonant. “Feather”. No. That’s not — it’s a noun; I can’t use that. Okay. It’ll come to me. I’ll put it on the comments on And if you want to practice more of these, go to There’s a quiz there, and you can practice these and come back, and we’ll do some more lessons. So don’t forget to check out my YouTube page and subscribe. See you then.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *