"mais pequeno que" sounds awkward to a Brazilian ear. We say "menor que" and "o menor" when using the comparative and superlative degrees respectively. I know "mas grande que" and "mas pequeño que" are both current usage in Spanish. Do people ever say "mais grande que" (comparative degree) in Portugal?

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    For the record, Spanish also uses mayor and menor as irregular comparatives — but you still hear más grande and más pequeño. – tchrist Aug 29 '15 at 0:07
  • @tchrist Don't the Spanish use "mayor" and "menor" only as superlatives? – Centaurus Aug 29 '15 at 0:10
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    No, they can be comparative. For superlatives, if you have a determinate article, it is a superlative, and if you don’t it isn’t: El mayor océano del mundo es el Pacífico is superlative. See this Brazilian site in Portuguese for an explanation of the possible alternatives in which they point out how this is different from Portuguese. – tchrist Aug 29 '15 at 0:16
  • @tchrist Thanks for the explanation and the link. I can see it now. – Centaurus Aug 29 '15 at 0:19
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    Related – JNat Aug 29 '15 at 8:58


According to my native experience, mais grande que is not acceptable in Portugal.


When one compares two objects, one says este carro é _maior_ que o outro.

But when one compares two properties of the same object, one would instead say o carro é mais grande que espaçoso.

Fonte: A construção «mais grande do que» , in CiberDúvidas da Língua Portuguesa, consultado a 31-08-2015.


Yes, people do use mais grande que, although it's generally accepted as a wrong form.


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