-er /-est or more/most with two-syllable adjectives?
When it comes to two-syllable adjectives, the case is less clear
cut. With some two-syllable adjectives, -er/-est and more/most
are both possible:
- The water here is shallower / more shallow than it
is further up the beach.
- The grey squirrel is one of the most common / commonest
rodents that you will see in England.
Others, with particular endings, tend to folllow either one or the
-y > -ier
Two-syllable adjectives which end with consonant + -y nearly always
form their comparatives and superlatives with -ier and -iest:
- You are one of the messiest people I know. Even Jane
is tidier than you are.
- I'm busier than I used to be so I have to get up even
earlier than before.
It would be unusual, I think, for the comparative or superlative
to be formed with more or most in these examples.
However, in your example, Kim, with risky, both patterns appear
possible. It may be the case that more risky works well here
because it is combined with a modifying phrase such as a lot.
Compare also the following:
- Walking along this mountain path is much more risky
in winter than it is in summer.
However, as a general rule, stick to -ier / -iest with two-syllable
adjectives which end with consoant + y
-ful / -less / -ing / -ed / -ous
Note that two-syllable adjectives with these endings always form
their comparatives and superlatives with more and most:
- Having a tooth extracted was more painful than I expected
it to be.
- The situation is even more hopeless than I thought.
She will never recover.
- The most boring part of the weekend was listening
to Jane's jokes.
- I'm more worried than you are about Tom and I've only
known him for two days.
- The two brothers are both well-known internationally, but
I would say that Giles is the more famous.