44 Superlatives

Adjectives

Superlative Adjectives/Adverbs are used to make a comparison between things, people or actions, expressing the superiority of one thing, person or action who has a higher level of a particular quality.

The Superlatives can be made using Adjectives or Adverbs. We use the determiner the before the Adjective/Adverb to show that it is superior to other things.

The Superlatives have this structure:
Subject + verb + “the” + superlative Adjective/Adverb + object.

The Superlative form of an Adjective/Adverb is obtained differently depending on its number of syllables and on its suffix.

  • One syllable:
    • Generally, with one-syllable Adjective/Adverb we just add –est (e.g. clean -> cleanest);
    • Adjectives ending with one vowel and one consonant: We usually double the final consonant before adding -est (e.g. big -> biggest);
    • With one-syllable Adjective/Adverb ending with –e: We just add -st (e.g. simple -> simplest).
fast the fastest
fat the fattest
strange the strangest
  • Two syllables ending in -y: Change -y to –and add –est.
friendly the friendliest
funny the funniest
early the earliest
  • Two or more syllables not ending in -y: We add the most before the Adjective/Adverb: the most + Adjective/Adverb (without changes).
beautiful the most beautiful
boring the most boring
quietly the most quietly

We cannot change the Adjectives/Adverbs with the most. […the most + Adjective/Adverb (without changes)…].

One syllable:

  • I have the cleanest desk in the office.
  • She has the oldest shop in the street.
  • They try their hardest to buy an apartment.

 Two syllables ending with -y:

  • You are the funniest woman alive.
  • She is the friendliest girl I’ve ever met.
  • We wake up the earliest to take shower.

 Two or more syllables not ending with -y:

  • I think that tennis is the most boring sport.
  • ‘War and Peace’ is the most difficult Russian book to read.
  • That is the most slowly they talk on the radio.

We use Superlative Adjectives/Adverbs when we want to express the superiority of one thing, person or action over another.

We use Superlative Adjectives/Adverbs when we wish to make a comparison between things, people or actions, expressing the superiority of one thing, person or action who has a higher level of a particular quality.

The formation of the Superlative differs depending on the number of syllables and the suffix.

For example:
One-syllable: “Claire is the oldest girl in the class.” = Because the word old has one syllable, we just add -est (When the adjective ends in -e we just add –st).
Two-syllables ending in -y:Claire is the prettiest girl in the class.” = Because the word pretty has two syllables and ends with -y, -y becomes -i and we need to add -est.
Two or more syllables not ending in -y:Claire is the most sympathetic girl in the class.” = Because the word sympathetic has more than one syllable, we need to write most before the adjective. The Adjective/Adverb does not change when using most.

Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.