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 thoughts on “When Less is More (Less)

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


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


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 )

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.