We all like it when people are friendly to us. But what do you call it when one person shows more friendliness than someone else?
Would that person be described as “more friendly” or “friendlier”? Today, we’ll look at the differences between being more friendly and being friendlier, whether or not the rules always stay the same, and of course, plenty of examples to help you fully understand when to use which term.
Is It “More Friendly” Or “Friendlier”?
When “friendly” is used as an adjective, you should use “friendlier”, e.g., “Jonathan was friendlier than his father is.” When “friendly” is used as an adverb, you should use “more friendly”, e.g., “She spoke more friendly this time than last time”.
Friendly As An Adjective
First of all, let’s look at how “friendly” can be an adjective.
As you might know, an adjective is what we use when we describe something, or someone. When we use the word “friendly”, we’re describing the characteristics of a person.
You could also use “friendly” to describe a non-physical thing, such as an atmosphere. But, so long as you’re describing a thing, you’re using it as an adjective.
Most of the time, when we use an adjective, we pair it up with a noun. So I might say “the friendly (adjective) dog (noun).”
Why It’s Friendlier As An Adjective
When “friendly” is an adjective, the correct word to use would be “friendlier”. Usually, when we want to show “more” with an adjective, we would put “er” at the end.
For example, let’s say you have a cake which is ten times the size of my cake. Which of the following sentences would you say?
“Your cake is more big than mine”
“Your cake is bigger than mine”
I’m going to guess that most of you would have gone for the second option.
So, if you’re using it as an adjective, make sure to put the “er” on the end.
5 Examples Of “Friendlier”
- “My mother is friendlier than my father. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a great relationship with him”
- “I was surprised to find that the boys were actually friendlier than the girls. But, that doesn’t surprise me when I look at the kind of shows the two groups watch”
- “The atmosphere in the pub was friendlier than at the football game. I felt very safe when I had my drink”.
- “I’ve always found the North of England to be friendlier than the South”
- “She was friendlier than I was expecting her to be.”
Friendly As An Adverb
But, friendly is not always an adjective, it can also be an adverb (or a noun but we’ll get onto that later).
As some of you will know already, an adverb adds to a verb. A verb is a doing word. Like “speak”, “run” or “jump”.
An adverb is a word that describes the verb. I might speak loudly, run quickly, or jump nonchalantly.
When you’re using “friendly” to describe an action, not a person, or a thing, you’re using it as an adjective.
For example, I might say that “He spoke friendly to his mother. But he was abusive to his girlfriend”.
Why It’s “More Friendly” As An Adverb
When you’re using comparatives with adverbs, the correct way to do it is to add “more” before the adverb.
Which sentence sounds better to you?
“He ran quickly. But she ran more quickly”
“He ran quickly. But she ran quicklier”
And I know what you’re thinking. But, “quicker” is technically an adjective, and not an adverb. Of course, this is only according to grammar snobs, so if you want to swap “friendlier” and “more friendly” in your day to day life- feel free.
But, if you’re in a situation where correct grammar is vital, be sure to use “more friendly” when “friendly” is an adverb.
5 Examples Of “More Friendly”
- “He spoke more friendly this time than last time. I don’t know why he was such a misery last week”
- “They laugh more friendly when they’re around their parents than they do when they’re with their friends”
- “He runs more friendly when the sun is out. When it rains, he’s just desperate to get it over and done with”
- “This genie sings more friendly than the one from that other film. I forget what it’s called”
- “She drove more friendly on the way back from work than she did on the way to work”.
Friendly Can Also Be A Noun
Just to make all of this more confusing, the word “friendly” can be an adjective, adverb, or even a noun.
All nouns are things, but there are some nouns that you can’t physically pick up. And “friendly” is one of them.
A “friendly” refers to a football match, usually played at the beginning of a football season, where the score does not impact where the team ends up in the league table.
Of course, you can’t have a comparative for nouns. But, you might say “This was a friendlier friendly than the last one”
As a plural, the correct word is “friendlies”. S
More Eco-friendly Or Eco-friendlier? This One Breaks The Rules
There is one word that does seem to break the rule. And that is “eco-friendly”. The comparative for this word is “more eco-friendly”. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the word “eco-friendlier”.
If you want to use it as an adjective, you might say “A windmill is more eco-friendly than a coal station”.
And, if you want to use it as an adverb you would say “I have to drive more eco-friendly if I don’t want my daughter to tell me off”.
Yes, I know it’s strange to have spent the whole article on one thing, and now be backtracking. But what can I say? The English language is like that sometimes.
And now you know the difference between “more friendly” and “friendlier”. There is no “correct” version because which one is “correct” depends on what kind of word “friendly” is.
When it’s an adjective, it’s being used to describe a thing. And the correct word to use is “friendlier”.
But, when it’s an adverb, it’s used to describe an action. And the correct version is “more friendly”.
Because most people don’t know the difference, you can get away with saying either in most contexts.
This is all made even more confusing by the fact that “eco-friendlier” isn’t a word. But, that’s just English for you. It sure is one confusing language.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.