Rarer or More Rare – Which Spelling Is Correct?

There’s a lot of debate surrounding the correct spelling of “rarer.” Some people spell it “more rare,” while others believe that “rarer” is the only correct option. But which is right? Read on to determine if your should be using rarer or more rare in your writing!

Which Is Correct Form: Rarer or More Rare?

man pointing at a rare diamond next to him

Many words in the English language are easily confused because they are spelled similarly or sound the same. Additionally, many words have multiple definitions or uses, making it easy to confuse them with other words. For example, the words “ladle” and “ladel” sound the same but have different meanings.

In fact, both rarer and more rare represent the comparative form of the word rare! They have identical definitions and can be used interchangeably.

Takeaway: Rarer is the traditionally correct word. However, both words can be used correctly.

When To Use Rarer

You should use the word “rarer” when comparing two or more things and indicating that one is less common than the other.

For example

  • “Rarer varieties of apples can be found in specialty stores.”

The word rarer is a descriptive adjective meaning not occurring often; unusual. However, it can also be used to describe cooking meat. Cooking a steak rare means that it is less cooked and redder in the center.

When To Use More Rare

More rare, is a less popular alternative way to use the word rare in the comparative form. Here are some examples about how to use adjectives like this:

  1. The more rare the book, the higher its value.
  2. In some parts of the world, snowfall is becoming more rare.
  3. The more rare the material, the more expensive it is.
  4. Some animals are becoming more rare due to overhunting.
  5. Public speaking is a more rare ability than it used to be.

Adding the word “more” to the word “rare” makes this a comparative statement. The item or thing that is “more rare” is uncommon compared the other item or thing.

Different Forms Of Rare

The different forms of rare are comparative and superlative.

  • Comparative rare: more/less rare; rarer
  • Superlative rare: most/least rare; rarest

A comparison is simply a comparison between two or more things. The words dryer & drier are very popular comparative adjectives!

  • I am faster than you.
  • I have less money than Tim.

Superlative is the highest degree of comparison between two or more things. However, knowing when to use the different superlative forms can be tricky. Here is the rule of thumb, words with three or more syllables normally use more or most instead of -er.

  • I am the fastest person in the world.
  • I have the least amount of money in my family.

Just like we saw in our post about what does stoked mean, we saw the importance of spelling. Spelling can completely change the meaning of a word!

Which Is More Popular?

picture comparing the popularity of rarer vs more rare

According to Google’s Ngram data, the word “rarer” is the most popular of the two options. Although “rarer” has lost significant popularity, it is still used more frequently than “more rare“. Just like we saw in our analysis of greatly vs grately, the data is often shocking!

Considering both words are considered grammatically correct, you can use whichever sounds better in your context.

Common Synonyms

If you want to spice up your writing, considering using any of these words in place of “rare”.

  1. Scarce: occurring or found in only small quantities.
  2. Uncommon: not commonly encountered or experienced.
  3. Unusual: not usual, common, or ordinary.
  4. Unique: being the only one; unequaled or unparalleled.
  5. Infrequent: occurring at long intervals or only in a few places.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the superlative for rare?

Rarest is the superlative for rare. Only use this superlative form when trying to declare that something is the most rare.

Is most rare grammatically correct?

Yes. The phrase most rare is grammatically correct because it is an absolute superlative. That is, it is used to describe something that is the most rare of all things. For example, the most rare spider in the world is the golden orb-weaver spider. This phrase is used to add emphasis to a sentence.

Does Rare mean valuable?

Not necessarily. Rare does not mean valuable in all circumstances. Just because something is extremely rare, does not mean it holds value. For example, there could be a rare disease. That certainly is not valuable!

What is a word for rarer than rare?

Unique is the word for rarer than rare. If something is truly unique, then it is a one of one. For example, if there was only 1 type of Ferrari manufactured, it would be considered rare.

The Bottom Line

Now you know the difference between the words rarer or more rare! In this case, both phrases have the same definition and can be used interchangeably, like the words yup or yep. Use the superlative form to describe the most rare occasions. Use the comparative form to compare two or more things. And be sure to use the Grammarly or WordTune tools to check your work if you need help!