more modern / moderner


Senior Member
France, French

I wanted to know why in English, you don't say "moderner" but "more modern" while, according to the rules I have studied, with a short word (1 or two syll.) you only have to add -er to create the comparative form?

Thanks a lot in advance! Bye...:)
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    Hello alatien34,

    It appears that the rules you have studied are useful generalities, but do not govern all
    cases. As a native EN speaker, I have never studied any rules about comparative forms. Instead, I have learned them by listening and imitating.

    In some cases you have a choice between the xxxxxxxxxx-er and more xxxxxxxx forms. In others, usage dictates, or at least strongly suggests, which will be idiomatic.
    Are you sure your rules didn't allow for exceptions?

    To your specific question, we don't say "moderner" because it would sound foreign.


    Senior Member
    France, French
    Hello and thanks for the answer!

    As a matter of fact, I had already asked myself the question and it appears that in the rules you find in grammar books, they don't specify the existence of any exception. (...maybe to simplify things)

    Then I realized there were some exceptions, that's why I've been through a lot of research to find an answer. Once or twice, they were talking about some exceptions but there was no "list of exceptions". They didn't explain why there were exceptions and I was wondering if someone knew a specific rule (or list) I just wanted to know if I was missing a part of the rule but maybe it is just like you said...

    Learning a language is more and more difficult when you realize there are exceptions to the rules...!:(

    Thanks a lot...! :):thumbsup:


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Here's a web page which goes into rather more detail, alatien34: it will give you some helpful guidelines about which types of two-syllabled words take -er/-est and which usually take more/most.

    Sadly, it doesn't answer your specific question about 'modern'; nor does it mention 'correct', which also makes its comparative/superlative with more/most.


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There are many threads that discuss the general topic of comparative forms.

    It will come as no surprise to find that these can be found by looking in the dictionary for comparative, or indeed by looking in the FAQ section of:
    < READ ME FIRST - Forum rules, common questions, and resources. >

    One of the statements of the "rule" for creation of comparatives says that two-syllable adjectives only take -er if they end in y.

    As said already, these are guidelines, based on what native-speakers actually use - they are not the rules that native-speakers follow.


    Senior Member
    English English
    As Cuchuflete says, there's something oddly 'alien' about the sound of moderner which isn't present in (e.g.) cleverer, thornier, stupider. I have no idea why, unless it's to do with those two schwas in a row ...


    New Member
    The grammar rules about comparatives in this case are as follows:

    Two syllables, ending in Y. Examples:
    happy, silly, lonely
    Change y to i, then add -er:​
    happier, sillier, lonelier


    Two syllables or more, not ending in
    Y. Examples: modern, interesting,
    Use “more” before the
    adjective: more modern, more​
    interesting, more beautiful

    I'm sure this can help you.

    <<Moderator note.
    Please make sure you give clear attribution for any text that you copy from another source.
    The text above was copied directly, or indirectly, from the University of Victoria Language Centre
    panjandrum >>
    Last edited by a moderator:


    Senior Member
    English - US
    The grammar rules ...


    Two syllables or more, not ending in
    This is only a guideline. Any strict rule will only leave you confused as there are always exceptions. Two exceptions already mentioned in this thread are stupid - stupider - stupidest and clever - cleverer - cleverest.
    As was mentioned above, native speakers do not learn this as a rule in school, but know which words use which forms through learning them by example.


    New Member
    Yes. You are right. It's a guideline.
    In the past, and perhaps still by some authorities, it has been considered incorrect to form the comparative of some multisyllabic adjectives by adding -er, but objections to words such as "stupider" have come to seem a bit schoolmarmish in current usage. But there's certainly nothing wrong with saying "more stupid"!