When Less is More (Less)

There’s plenty of confusing elements to Romanian grammar but luckily one of the easier parts is constructing comparatives.

What am I talking about?


All you do is add the word mai (more) to any adjective.

Verde – green. Mai verde – Greener
Bun – good. Mai bun – Better
Inalt – tall. Mai inalt – Taller
Dulce – sweet. Mai dulce – Sweeter


While it sounds a little odd, the way to indicate something is “less” is to say mai puțin, literally “more less”:

Verde – green. Mai puțin verde – Less green.
Bun – good. Mai puțin bun – Worse (less good)
Inalt – tall. Mai puțin inalt – Less tall
Dulce – sweet. Mai puțin dulce – Less sweet

Note: The adjectives must be modified according to number and gender. Therefore something good that’s singular and female would be buna, etc.


Again, couldn’t be simpler! Just remember these four words:

Female Male
Singular cea cel
Plural cele cei

One of the C words above + mai + adjective = superlative:

Verde – green. Cel mai verde – The greenest (singular masculine).
Verde – green. Cea mai verde – The greenest (singular feminine).
Bun – good. Cel mai bun – The best (sing. masculine)
Buni – good. Cei mai buni – The best (plur. masculine)
Inalta – tall. Cea mai inalta – The tallest (sing. feminine)
Dulce – sweet. Cea mai dulce – The sweetest (sing. feminine)
Frumoase – beautiful. Cele mai frumoase – The most beautiful (pl. feminine)

See? Easy, peasy, Lemon Squeezy!

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Rocky says:

    > All you do is add the word mai (more) to any adjective.

    Sam, it’s not that simple. If “mai” means “more”, then how do you say “mai mult”? “more more”? :))

    > the way to indicate something is “less” is to say mai puțin, literally “more less”.

    Again, according to your definition for “mai” (“more”=”mai mult”), then “more less” would be “mai mult putin”…


    1. Ayceman says:

      Now I realise that „mai” is „still”. So:

      mai + adj. = still + adj. – meaning – more + adj.
      mai mult = still more – meaning – more
      mai puțin = still few/little – meaning – less


      1. Ayceman says:

        Correction: mai mult = still much


  2. Ayceman says:

    Actually mai puțin is literally more few/little :D


    1. Rocky says:

      I agree. “Mai putin” is “more few” or “mre little”, or “less”, not “more less” (since “less” is already “more little”…)


  3. Mihaela says:

    It would be interesting to tell us your experience with homophones in Romanian. Many Romanians don’t get the difference between “miau” (pisica facu miau) and “mi-au” (mi-au trimis un cadou). Not to mention “deal” (am urcat pe deal), “de-al” (e de-al nostru), and “de-a-l” (greseala de-a-l asculta). What does an English speaker feel about that?
    If you say about a person “Scrie miau ca pisica” (He / She spells “miau” like a cat), that means the person is uneducated :))


    1. Rocky says:

      I thought a person who spells “mi-au ca pisica” is uneducated :)) My Rocky says “ham ham” (“woof woof”, not ““şuncă şuncă”), but if he were a cat, he would probably say “miau miau”, not “mi-au mi-au”… Rocky is a very educated German shepherd dog (although I’m ashamed to say er spricht nicht deutsch…)


      1. Mihaela says:

        if you care more about animals than people, than it should be “cand pisica scrie mi-au ca omul” :))


  4. Mihaela says:

    frumoasă – mai frumoasă – cea mai frumoasă


    1. Rocky says:

      I love Alexandru Andries, I think he is a very complex artist. Thank you, Mihaela!


  5. Rocky says:

    Muţă – Maimuţă – Cea maimuţă


Got something to say? Try to be nice!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.