What is a superlative?

What is a superlative?

To download and print this free PDF course, click here.

Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.

Superlative is used to say that a thing, a person or an idea has more (or less) particularity than other similar things.

To do this, we use superlative adjectives:

Look at the following examples:

  • The Everest is the highest mountain in the world. 
  • Nathan is the best football player in the team.

Superlative adjectives

Let’s look at the formation of English superlative adjectives, there are several types:

Adjectives with one syllable:

Examples: fast, great, quick, short, tall

it is necessary to add -est

  • cheap → the cheapest 
  • high → the highest

Adjectives with one syllable ending in “e”:

Ex: close, huge, large, strange…

it is necessary to add -st

  • nice → the nicest 
  • wise → the wisest

Adjectives that end in consonant/vowel/consonant:

Ex: fat, red, sad, thin…

it is necessary to add a consumption + -est

  • big → the biggest
  • hot → the hottest

Adjectives in two syllables ending with -y:

Ex: heavy, tiny…

it is necessary to replace the -y by -iest

  • happy → the happiest
  • crazy → the craziest 
  • early → the earliest 
  • easy → the easiest 
  • pretty → the prettiest 

Adjectives in two or more syllables:

Ex: important, delicious, generous…

It’s necessary to add the most/the least 

  • beautiful => the most beautiful 
  • expensive => the most expensive 

Les adjectifs irréguliers superlatifs:

  • good → the best
  • bad → the worst
  • far → the furthest 
  • little → the smallest

To say that two things are equal: As… as…

We use as + adjective + as to say that two things are similar or equal:

  • He’s as tall as me.
  • Tom’s bike is as fast as mine.

We use not as + adjective + as to say that two things are not equal:

  • Danny’s car is not as fast as mine.

⚠ Superlatives can be modified with by, far, easily and nearly:

  • Ti Amo is by far the best restaurant in town.
  • She’s nearly the oldest in the class.

⚠ If there is a possessive in the sentence, we do not use ‘the’ with the adjective superlative:

  • Her strongest point is her ambition.

⚠ Be careful not to confuse superlatives and comparisons!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *