What is a superlative adjective?
Superlative adjectives are adjectives that describe the attribute of a person or thing that is the highest (or lowest) in degree compared to the members of the noun’s group. Superlative adjectives are similar to
are adjectives that describe the attribute of a person or thing that is the highest (or lowest) in degree compared to the members of the noun’s group. Superlative adjectives are similar to comparative adjectives , except they express the most extreme degree of comparison, and they are only used when talking about groups of three or more people or things.
Forming Superlative Adjectives
We form superlative adjectives either by adding “-est” to the
of the adjective, or by adding the word or
Although there are some exceptions, we can follow some simple general rules for forming superlative adjectives.
With one-syllable adjectives, we add “-est” and
the final consonant if preceded by one vowel. For example:
- big – big
- thin – thin
- sad – sad
- slim – slim
The final consonant is not doubled if it is preceded by two vowels or another consonant, as in:
- weak – wea
- strong – stro
- large – la
- small – sma
(If the adjective ends in an “e,” then you only need to add “-st,” as in the case of .)
If an adjective has two syllables and ends in “-y,” we replace “y” with “i” and add “-est,” as in:
- happy – happ
- chewy – chew
- sticky – stick
- furry – furr
“Long” adjectives are adjectives that have three or more syllables, or adjectives that have two syllables and end in “-y.” Rather than changing the ending of long adjectives to make them superlative, we use the word before the adjective to indicate the highest degree of something, or to indicate the lowest degree. For example:
- careful – most/least careful
- caring – most/least caring
- gifted – most/least gifted
- intelligent – most/least intelligent
- beautiful – most/least beautiful
- amazing – most/least amazing
As with most grammatical “rules” in English, there are some exceptions to the patterns above. Here are a few of the adjectives that have irregular superlative forms:
- fun – most/least fun
- bad – worst
- good – best
- far – farthest/furthest*
*When referring to distance, and can be used interchangeably. However, in the American English, is preferred when comparing
distances, while is preferred when comparing
distances. For example:
- “San Francisco is farther from New York than Boston, but Hawaii is the farthest.” (physical distance)
- “Of all the lies I’ve heard today, that one is the furthest from the truth.” (figurative distance)
In British English, is more common both for physical figurative distances.
Adjectives with multiple superlative forms
There are also some adjectives that can either take the “-est” ending or be preceded by “most” to become superlative. The following are some of the most common:
Superlative Form 1
Superlative Form 2
Using Superlative Adjectives
We usually use superlative adjectives when comparing the attributes of someone or something to others, either in a collective group or among several individuals.
When we use a superlative adjective in a sentence, we almost always precede it with the word . For example:
- “John is the tallest student in his class.”
- “Daniel always buys the most advanced smartphones available.”
- “Mrs. Phillips is the nicest teacher among the staff.”
- “It is the highest mountain in the world.”
- “There are many expensive brands of watches, but these are the most expensive kind.”
- “This is the best book I’ve ever read.”
- “Among her four sisters, Georgina has the worst eyesight.”
We can also identify a superlative attribute of a person or thing compared to him-/her-/itself in other points in time. In this case, we generally do not use the word . For example:
- “I am most alert after my morning coffee.” (compared to a different time of day)
- “The car is fastest when the engine has warmed up.” (compared to when the engine is cold)
- “Flowers are prettiest in the spring.” (compared to the other seasons)
Omitting the group of comparison
When we use superlatives, it is very common to omit the group that something or someone is being compared to because that group is often implied by a previous sentence, and to repeat the group would sound very repetitive. For example:
- “My brothers are all fast swimmers. John is the fastest, though.”
In informal speech or writing, it is quite common for the word to be left out when the group of comparison is omitted, as in:
- “We all were carrying big, heavy sticks with us. Mine was biggest, though.”
However, this should be avoided, especially in formal or professional speech or writing.
Superlatives for hyperbole
We can also omit a group of comparison when a superlative adjective is being used for hyperbolic effect. For instance:
- “I’m going to buy my daughter the most beautiful puppy for her birthday.”
- “I had the biggest steak for my lunch today.”
Expressing the lowest degree
As we’ve seen, “long” adjectives can either take or to indicate the highest and lowest degrees of comparison. For example:
- “Though it was the least intelligent movie that I’ve seen this year, it was the most exciting one I’d been to in a long time.”
“Short” adjectives, on the other hand, have only one superlative form that expresses the highest degree of its characteristic. For two-syllable adjectives ending in “-y,” we can generally just use the word with the base form of the adjective. For example:
- “He’s the least tidy child I’ve ever met.”
- “The baby’s least grumpy when he’s had enough naps.”
We can also technically use with a single-syllable adjective in its normal form to express the lowest degree, but this is often awkward to read or say. For example:
- “John is the tallest student in his class, but he is the least tall on the baseball team.”
When we want to express the lowest quality of a single-syllable adjective, it is better just to use the opposite superlative adjective, as in:
- “John is the tallest in his class, but he is the shortest on the baseball team.”
1. Superlative adjectives express differences among a group of __________ nouns.
b) Two or three
c) Three or more
d) Five or more
2. Which of the following suffixes is used to create the superlative form for short adjectives?
3. Which of the following is an incorrect superlative adjective?
b) least intelligent
d) most small
4. When do we generally not use the article with a superlative adjective?
a) When the person or thing is being compared to itself in other times
b) When the person or thing is being compared with a group in other times
c) When the superlative adjective is being used for hyperbolic effect
d) When a single-syllable adjective is being made into the superlative form
[NEW] The superlative | superlative – NATAVIGUIDES
Quand on compare deux choses, c’est le comparatif
qu’on utilise, mais pour faire une comparaison dans un groupe plus nombreux,
c’est le superlatif qu’il faut employer. Le superlatif
désigne les extrêmes : le meilleur, le premier, le pire, le dernier, etc.
Le superlatif fonctionne comme le comparatif, à ces exceptions près :
Alors que le terme “more” ou la terminaison
“–er” signale le comparatif, c’est “most” ou la terminaison
“–est” qui désigneront le superlatif :
He is the most efficient worker we
That is the poorest family in the
Le terme comparatif (adjectif ou adverbe) sera précédé
de l’article défini :
He works the fastest of any student
She is the tallest woman in town.
À la différence du comparatif, le superlatif n’est
pas suivi de “than” : on met plutôt “of” ou “in”,
suivi du contexte de la comparaison (quoique ce contexte soit quelquefois implicite)
It’s the best day of my life!
She works the best of (in) the whole class.
She’s the one who arrived first.
Formes irrégulières :
Dans les superlatifs de supériorité les adjectifs
monosyllabes (et plusieurs adjectifs courants à deux syllabes) prennent la terminaison
“–est”, se dispensant alors de l’adverbe “most”. (Pourtant,
ces adjectifs fonctionneront comme les autres dans les superlatifs d’infériorité,
young –> the youngest
tall –> the tallest
old –> the oldest
Si l’adjectif se termine en “–y”, le
“–y” se changera en “–i” :
heavy –> the heaviest
early –> the earliest
busy –> the busiest
healthy –> the healthiest
chilly –> the chilliest
Si l’adjectif se termine en “–e”, on
n’ajoute que le “–st” :
wise –> the wisest
large –> the largest
simple –> the simplest
late –> the latest
Si l’adjectif se termine en “voyelle simple
+ consonne”, on double la consonne et ajoute “–est” :
red –> the reddest
big –> the biggest
thin –> the thinnest
hot –> the hottest
Quelques adjectifs très courants ont des formes
good –> the best
bad –> the worst
far –> the farthest
Quelques adjectifs n’existent que dans leur forme
Complétez les phrases par un comparatif
ou un superlatif de supériorité. Attention au sens.
- Canada is …………………….. than the USA but China
is …………………….. country in the world. | b. We stayed at
…………………….. hotel in the town but my cousin’s campsite was ……………………..
than our hotel. | c. January is generally …………………….. than December
but February is …………………….. month. | d. English is
…………………….. than German. | e. Chinese is …………………….. language.
| f. Heathrow is one of …………………….. airports in Europe. | g.
My father thinks that the Beatles were …………………….. than the Rolling
Stones, but in my opinion, U2 is …………………….. band.
Canada is bigger than the USA
but China is the most populous
country in the world. | b. We stayed at the
cheapest hotel in the town but my cousin’s campsite was
cheaper than our hotel. | c. January is generally
worse than December but February
is the coldest month. | d. English
is easier than German. | e. Chinese
is the most difficult language.
| f. Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in Europe. | g. My father thinks
that the Beatles were better than
the Rolling Stones, but in my opinion, U2 is the greatest band.
COMPARATIVE \u0026 SUPERLATIVE ADJECTIVES 🤔| English grammar | Learn the rules with examples
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5:45 One syllable examples
6:35 CVC examples
7:18 End in e examples
7:42 End in y examples
8:10 Two syllable examples
9:25 Three or more syllable examples
9:55 Irregular form examples
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comparatives and superlatives 1
In this video, students learn all about comparative adjectives. They learn and practice the form and function of this popular grammar target. For more videos and lessons, visit us at https://esllibrary.com.
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Superlatives: The Grammar Gameshow Episode 21
Welcome to the Grammar Gameshow! Test your knowledge in this crazy quiz! The presenter is a bit strange, the points don’t make sense and the prizes could use some improvement, but at least the grammar is correct!
So Liz claims victory again! She’s getting to be quite the contestant! But she’ll need all her knowledge this time. On this show the contestants challenge themselves on superlatives! Those comparative structures that tell us when something is outstanding in a particular way! Will Liz make it through again? Can you answer our questions? Who’s this rather importantlooking character? Find out in this episode of the Grammar Gameshow!
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Superlatives | English lesson
We use superlative adjectives to compare 1 thing in a group with all of the other things in the group.
We use \”the\” before the adjective because we are referring to one specific person or thing.
In this English lesson, you will learn the spelling rules and how to modify superlatives. The rules are different depending on whether the adjective is 1 syllable, 2 syllable and more or irregular.
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Crown Academy of English
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