Superlative adjectives are an essential part of English grammar. They are used to describe the highest degree of quality or characteristic. For example, the superlative form of tall would be tallest. Knowing how to correctly use and form superlative adjectives is an important skill to have when writing in English.
What Is A Superlative Adjective?
Superlative adjectives compare the highest or lowest degree of quality. They are formed by adding “-est” or “most” or “least” to the regular form of an adjective. Using them in conversation and writing can make our communication more precise.
Forming Superlative Adjectives
The formation of superlative adjectives depends on the number of syllables in the adjective.
One-syllable adjectives simply require the addition of -est, such as in small becoming smallest.
Two-syllable adjectives ending in -y or -ly require the same treatment, such as in friendly becoming friendliest. However, two-syllable adjectives not ending in -y or -ly require either ‘most’ or ‘least’ before them, for example beautiful becomes most beautiful or least beautiful depending on what is being described.
Some words also often have irregular forms that don’t follow these rules, such as good which becomes best not *goodest and bad which becomes worst not *baddest. Learn how to form superlatives in English with examples.
1. Form the superlative forms of a one-syllable adjective by adding –est.
- long – longest
- tall – tallest
2. If the one-syllable adjective ends with an e, just add –st for the superlative form.
- cute – cutest
- large – largest
3. Add –est to adjectives that end in consonant-vowel-consonant and double the last consonant.
- big – biggest
- hot – hottest
1. With most two-syllable adjectives, you form the superlative with most.
- honest – most honest
- famous – most famous
2. If the two-syllable adjectives ends with –y, change the y to i and add –est for the superlative form.
- happy – happiest
- crazy – craziest
3. Two-syllable adjectives ending in –er, –le, or –ow take –est to form the superlative forms.
- narrow – narrowest
- gentle – gentlest
Adjectives with Three or More Syllables
Add most to adjectives that has 3 or more syllables.
- expensive – most expensive
- difficult – most difficult
- good – best
- bad – worst
- far – farthest
- little – least
- many – most
How to Use Superlative Adjectives Correctly
Using Superlative Adjectives Correctly
Superlatives are used to compare three or more things. When using a superlative with just one item being compared against others it isn’t grammatically correct to use any preposition, but it is common to see some people write sentences like Sarah is better than anyone else; instead, this should be Sarah is the best (not simply best) as this is grammatically correct according to the rules for English grammar and usage.
Superlatives can also be used with “of” phrases but they can often come off as overly formal and so should be used judiciously within communication between peers and colleagues unless specifically required for a more formal piece of writing, such as in an academic essay.
Common Mistakes with Superlative Adjectives
It is very easy to make mistakes with superlative adjectives by overusing them
- Constantly using phrases like farthest away, etc., have a tendency to sound contrived
- Or using double superlatives – greatest ever professional performance – which doesn’t seem natural (instead replace with something like extraordinary).
Additionally, some words have special uses for their superlatives such as ‘best’ being used for both excellent AND lucky e.g “That was his best find!”
And finally, many people mix up comparatives and superlatives although they each hold different meanings; comparatives indicate comparison while superlatives represent extremities i.e Comparators: faster vs Fastest (fastest means quickest).
Related: Mastering Comparative Adjectives in English with Examples
Examples of Superlative Adjectives
Examples of Superlative Adjectives in Context
Here are some examples of superlative adjectives being used in sentences:
- Shania Twain is the funniest comedian I’ve ever seen.
- Paris has been voted the most beautiful city in the world.
- This pizza shop serves the best pizza in town!
- I’m the tallest person in my class.
- My brother is the fastest swimmer on our team.
- That restaurant has the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted!
List of affirmative and superlative adjectives in English.
|Examples of Superlative Adjectives|
Forming Superlative Adjectives | Images
Superlative Adjectives: Definition & Examples
10 thoughts on “Superlative Adjectives: An Ultimate Grammar Guide with Examples”
Sub to pediepie
U ARE DUMB
Hello. This is great! Just one question though, with the adjective words “new” and “cheap”, I learned that the one-syllable rule applies for them. However, if you notice these two words can also be applied with the “vowel-consonant-ending” rule (that is: che-A-P, n-E-W). But if you actually do that, it becomes a mispelling in the dictionary (or even in MS word). Does anyone why these 2 words are an exception? Or are there any word exemptions besides these two?
Thanks in advance for any reply!