So far, I learned that we can use the superlatives and comparatives such as:

  • Bigger/biggest & smaller/smallest
  • Larger/largest & smaller/smallest
  • Higher/highest & lower/lowest


  • More/most & Less/least

when we compare numbers/quantities/amounts of things. (numerical data types)


The number of people in New York is bigger/larger/higher than in London.

(number of . . . = numerical data)

New York has more people than London.

(people = numerical data) and

China has the biggest/largest/highest number of people.

(number of . . . = numerical data)

China has the most people.

(people = numerical data)

What if I want to compare some things else? Such as:

  1. percentages (of some things) — is it considered numerical?
  2. horizontal sizes (lengths/areas) — non-numerical data types, measured by eyes
  3. vertical sizes (heights) — none-numerical data types, measured by eyes

What comparative adjectives would we use when comparing those things?

For example, we can use "tall" for comparing heights, but not for lengths.

We use "large" for comparing sizes, but aren't heights and lengths also considered sizes?

If yes, can't we use "large" when comparing them? That is, numerical case and non-numerical case

Since we can use "the largest number/value of some things", can we use "the largest number/value of heights/lengths/areas"?

Note: sizes in this case includes both of those indicated by sight without measuring tools (none-numerical data type, measured by eyes) and indicated by measurements (numerical)

Thank you very much

  • Why not try out your own sentences using these, and then we can guide you when necessary? Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 13:54
  • 1
    Is the question too broad? @TrevorChristopherButcher
    – hbtpoprock
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 14:07
  • 1
    @hbtpoprock It's not too broad, but example sentences help to establish where you are in your thinking and give us an easier starting point for an explanation.
    – Alan T.
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


Comparatives can be used for many things, and numerical data is just one thing they can compare. For example:

My cat is bigger than your cat.

is perfectly valid, even if you did not measure out the sizes of each cat to compare them. Even though you are measuring them with your eyes, your estimate of the size is still a scale (of large to small) on which you can compare things.

At that point, whether you have hard numbers like "5 is more than 1" or just a vague description like "blue is bluer than red" doesn't really matter.

Just remember that many comparatives have specific qualities that are being compared, so something like 'bluer' implies that there is a blueness that is being compared. So saying something like:

Politics is bluer than geography.

would imply that there is some sort of coloration here, maybe that you are looking at some words written on a computer screen that are colored.

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