‘More Smart' vs 'Smarter': Which is Correct?

By Kelsey Weeks, updated on June 23, 2023

Have you ever wondered if you should say that someone is ‘more smart’ or ‘smarter’? Learning to use the correct one can help you avoid a sticky situation. This article will explain which you should use and why.

A quick overview:

  • ‘More smart’ is what someone may want to use when comparing one person to another.
  • ‘Smarter’ is the correct way to compare two or more nouns.

If you want to know more about why we don’t use ‘more smart’ and use ‘smarter,’ read on in this article. We will cover which to use and what the rules are around it. If you read on, you will definitely be ‘smarter’ for it!

Which is Correct, 'More Smart’ vs. ‘Smarter?’

When examining ‘more smart’ vs. ‘smarter,’ one can be used correctly, ‘smarter.’ ‘Smarter’ is an adjective typically used to compare one noun to another. ‘More smart’ is never correct

Both words have smart in them, but when comparing one to another, if the word is one syllable, you can add -er or -est over adding ‘more’ before the adjective.

  • Although most rules in English have exceptions, this is not one of them.

Other words that add a suffix such as -er to compare are:

  • Darker
  • Faster
  • Higher
  • Lighter
  • Longer
  • Older
  • Shorter
  • Sharper
  • Smoother
  • Tighter

Adding -er to an adjective that is one syllable is generally correct unless the word is two syllables and ends in -y, -ow -le. Then they would also end in -er with words like scarier and trickier.

If the word has more than one syllable, the general rule is to use more or most, like the example, more intelligent. Hopefully, this helps you understand why we use ‘smarter’ instead of ‘more smart’. Not only will you be able to use this rule with this one word, but now when you encounter additional words that could potentially end in an -er.

You can also say someone is the smartest when they are even smarter than someone smarter than someone else.

For example:

  • Jen is smarter than Kim, but Lynn is the smartest because she is smarter than Jen.

How Do You Use ‘Smarter?’

Since we learned that we do not use ‘more’ in front of ‘smart,’ how do we use ‘smarter?’

  • Use ‘smarter’ when comparing one noun to another when you think that one has a higher ability.

When comparing, one may say:

This new smart watch that I bought to pair with my phone is ‘smarter’ than the last.

  • Use ‘smarter’ when describing when you feel more mental aptitude.

For example, you can say:

 I have found that I feel ‘smarter’ after getting a good night’s sleep.

  • You can use ‘smarter’ to describe a choice preference.

To explain, you can say:

It would be ‘smarter’ to plan out the trip before you take it instead of flying by the seat of your pants.

Definition of ‘Smarter': What Does ‘Smarter' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ‘smart’ means:

  • Having or showing a high degree of mental ability
  • Witty, clever

It can also mean:

  • Stylish or elegant in dress or appearance
  • Rude or impolite in a bold and disrespectful way

Synonyms of ‘Smart’

  • Able
  • Adept
  • Astute
  • Apt
  • Brainy
  • Bright
  • Chic
  • Clever
  • Elegant
  • Fashionable
  • Fresh
  • Ingenious
  • Intelligent
  • Knowing
  • Neat
  • Perceptive
  • Quick-witted
  • Sassy
  • Sharp
  • Sharp-witted
  • Well dressed
  • Well read

Antonyms of ‘Smart’

  • Blunt
  • Dull
  • Foolish
  • Ignorant
  • Naïve
  • Obtuse
  • Scruffy
  • Slow
  • Stupid
  • Unclever
  • Unaware
  • Unskilled
  • Unstylish

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Smarter’

It is important to learn how to pronounce words so that you can use English words in writing and when speaking. This will help make you confident in the usage of the word.

  • The phonetic spelling of 'smarter' is:

           smaa tuh

Sample Sentences Using 'Smarter'

Review these sample sentences to learn how to use ‘smarter’ fluently.

  • I feel smarter after taking the class on history at the community college. Before I took the high school class, I thought I was too young to comprehend the material.
  • My dad said that it would be smarter to change the outlets during the day because we have to cut the power off, and we need to be able to see.
  • She is smarter than her peers since she chose to use the time while the teacher was away to study instead of being on her phone.
  • I was putting my siblings to the test by playing Who is Smarter than a Fifth Grader. It turns out that a fifth grader may be smarter than my high school siblings, according to this game.
  • I wish I could be considered smarter than I was in high school because I have tried to better myself by always learning to do better than I have before.
  • Your sister is the smarter one of you two because she knows how to take care of herself. When your mother was out of town, your sister was able to cook for herself, take herself to school on time, and make sure the pets were taken care of.
  • I would consider this computer smarter than the last because it loads everything faster, and it is better at remembering the programs that I like.
  • She said that I was smarter for loving the color yellow, but color preferences have nothing to do with intelligence.
  • They’re smarter because they have a strategy for solving this escape room. We went into the room, never having done one before.
  • I am going to do my best to become smarter by reading nonfiction books on the weekends,  listening to Ted Talks on the way to work, and reading an informational article every night. To ensure that I learned the materials, I will write a summary of each to review.

Closing Words on ‘More Smart’ vs. ‘Smarter’

Wow! There are rules for when to use more versus adding an -er. To review:

  • You should not use ‘more smart.’
  • When comparing one to another, you should use ‘smarter.’

In conclusion, if one is more intelligent, they are smarter or the smartest.

All posts on our website explain how to use tricky words correctly. Check back frequently to reduce the errors in your writing. You can find additional resources on English words in the confusing words section.

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Written By:
Kelsey Weeks
Kelsey Weeks is currently a school counselor at a high school and a previous English teacher. She loves helping others with literacy, learning more, and exploring nature. She has an undergrad in English with an emphasis on secondary education and an M.A. in Applied Psychology from NYU.

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