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Unit 8.2

Superlatives with Adjectives and Adverbs

Syntax

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

The superlatives can be formed by using adjectives or adverbs. The determiner the comes before the adjective/adverb to show that something is superior to other things.

The structure of the sentence is:
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:
    • Adjective/adverb: we add –est (cleancleanest);
    • Adjective/adverb with suffix –e: we add -st (simple ⇒ simplest);
    • Adjectives ending with one vowel and one consonant: we double the final consonant before adding -est (bigbiggest).
  • Two syllables:
    • Adjective/adverb with suffix -y: change -y to –i and add –est (friendlythe friendliest).
  • Two or more syllables:
    • Adjective/adverb without suffix -y: we add the most before the adjective/adverb: the most + adjective/adverb (without changes) (beautifulthe most beautiful).

When we use the most, the form of adjectives/adverbs remains the same.

  • One syllable
    • I have the cleanest desk in the office.
    • She has the oldest shop in the street.
    • They tried their hardest to buy an apartment.
  • Two syllables with suffix -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 without suffix -y
    • I think that tennis is the most boring sport.
    • ‘War and Peace’ is the most difficult Russian book to read.
    • Far east countries’ languages are the most popular to learn.

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 make a comparison between things, people or actions, expressing the superiority of one that has a higher level of a particular quality than the other.

Their structure is:
… + the + superlative adjective/adverb + …

Their form differs according to the number of syllables and the suffix of the adjective.

For example:
One-syllable:
— General:Tall” ⇒ “Claire is the tallest girl in the class.” = We add -est;
— With suffix -e: “Nice” ⇒ “Anne is the nicest girl I know.” = We add -st;
— With one vowel + one consonant: “Thin” ⇒ “Karl is the thinnest.” = We double the consonant and add -est.

Two-syllables
With suffix -y: “Hungry ⇒ “Claire is the hungriest girl in the class.” = -y becomes -i, and we add -est.

Two or more syllables
(Without suffix -y): “Tired” ⇒ “Claire is the most tired girl in the class.” = We add most before the adjective/adverb.

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

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