Comparative adjectives compare the degree of some quality of some noun versus another noun.
Examples in English include “bigger”, “better”, “larger”, “smaller”, “worse”, etc. Some English comparative adjectives are formed with the adverb “more” – “more wonderful”, “more fun”, etc.
Comparative Adjectives in Hindi
Most adjectives in Hindi do not have corresponding comparative forms. Instead, Hindi employs a grammatical construct involving the postposition से and the positive form of the adjective.
The general form is:
subject + object + से + (ज्यादा/और/कम) + positive adjective
This construction by default (without ज्यादा, और, or कम) indicates that the the subject of comparison possesses the quality of the adjective to a greater extent than the object of comparison.
यह किताब उस किताब से महँगी है – “This book is more expensive than that book”
तुम उससे लम्बे हो – “You are taller than him”
मैं नितिन से छोटा हूँ – “I am (smaller/shorter/younger) than Nitin”
The postposition से is similar to the English word “than” since both words indicate the object of comparison. The Hindi comparative construction could be literally rendered as “You are tall than him”, etc. This is awkward in English, however, which requires the comparative form of the adjective in addition to the word “than”.
ज्यादा, और, and कम
The adjectives ज्यादा (“more”) and कम (“less”) may be used with से to explicitly indicate greater or lesser degree, respectively. The adjective और (“more”) may be used to indicate greater degree also.
नितिन अमित से ज्यादा लम्बा है – “Nitin is taller than Amit”
वह साड़ी इस साड़ी से कम महँगी है – “That sari is less expensive than this sari”
भारत नेपाल से और बड़ा है – “India is larger than Nepal”
Without an Adjective – Excessive Degree
ज्यादा and कम may be used without any specific object of comparison. When used in this manner, they indicate excessive degrees.
ये साड़ियाँ ज्यादा महँगी लगती हैं – “These saris seem too expensive”
नमक बहुत कम है – “There is very little salt (on the food)”
दस रूपये ज्यादा हैं; मैं तुमको चार रूपये दूंगा – “Ten rupees is too much; I will give you four rupees”